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Companies are searching for new and better ways to become more sustainable. As talent and clients alike are looking to partner with environmentally conscious enterprises, finding the right responsible enterprise e-recycling solution is rising on the list of strategic initiatives. For those companies, the first step towards a greener culture starts in their data centers.

More than 40 million tons of e-waste is generated annually across the globe. By reducing this waste, companies reduce carbon emissions, become more efficient in the data center, meet EPA standards and laws, and grow their corporate social responsibility presence. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have a defined enterprise e-recycling or IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) program.

Going Green with an Enterprise E-Recycling Program

Your hardware might be gathering dust in your data center, but that doesn’t mean it has no value left. A strong enterprise e-cycling program evaluates the value left in your machines, be it as a whole or in parts, and remarkets those valuable parts on the secondary market where they can extend the use life of other machines.

After the hardware that is reusable has been sorted out of your unused data center equipment, you need a partner that is certified to recycle e-waste using a qualified environmentally friendly disposal method. This cuts down on exposure to harmful e-waste that can be detrimental to the liver, kidneys, and other internal organs of those who are unfortunate enough to come into contact with improperly disposed e-waste.

While the benefits of going green are numerous and obvious, the reality is that many organizations aren’t focusing on a key part of responsible enterprise e-recycling—data security.

Going green is a lofty—and worthwhile—goal, but without maintaining the integrity of your data security, your company could end up with a larger problem than servers gathering dust in your data center.

Maintaining Data Security in Your Enterprise E-Recycling Program

To safeguard your customers and protect your brand reputation, you must sustain your security protocols until there is no data left to secure. Shipping servers and other data storage hardware out to be recycled without first ensuring all data has been wiped from the machines puts your company at risk and is, frankly, dangerously irresponsible.

This doesn’t mean your unused hardware should remain in your data centers ad infinitum. It simply means that you need to execute proper ITAD measure to safeguard your data outside of the protection of your network firewalls.

Data is intrinsically resilient, leaving your company susceptible to breaches long after you have finished using the hardware. A proper ITAD program needs to not be just environmentally responsible, but also needs to include the proper precautions to completely wipe your data.

Data Erasure vs Data Destruction

Your enterprise e-recycling program needs to outline your processes for removing data before recycling your hardware. If your compliance requirements do not include full destruction of all your hard drives, then you have more disposal options available to you.

Data destruction (typically via shredding or punching) is the physical process of making a hard drive or storage device unusable entirely. Data erasure, on the other hand, is a software-based process that overwrites the hard drive data or resets the device back to the factory state, enabling you to reuse the drive. Data destruction is a faster process that typically carries a smaller price tag. Data erasure takes time (the more data on the drive, the longer it takes to sanitize), a designated workspace for engineers erasing the data, and a higher price tag.

Finding the Right Partner for Enterprise E-Recycling

For an effective enterprise e-recycling program, companies need to find a partner that shares its commitment to finding the greenest options. Certifications such as Responsible Recycling© (R2) Rev. 7/2013 and other quality certifications such as ISO or OHSAS should make potential partners stand out. These certifications prove that an independent third-party has evaluated and approved of that company’s program.

In addition to certifications, the right partner for enterprise e-recycling should provide transparency into its processes. If your partner isn’t willing to invite you in to witness each step of its ITAD process, then you’re not using the right partner.

The right partner should also have a presence on the secondary market to resell (the “Reuse” in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”) equipment to provide maximum value and ensure that your valuable equipment doesn’t just sit on someone else’s warehouse shelves.

Kick off your green initiatives with one of the CentricsIT Account Executives and get started towards building a more sustainable strategy.

Decommission your equipment securely. Find out how you can stay environmentally conscious and secure with the right ITAD plan in this free e-book.