The first step of recycling old computers starts in your own facility. Here’s what you need to know. 

There’s no getting around it; at some point, your business will need to recycle your old computers. Too many times, though, retired assets are left to languish in backrooms. Part of the problem is the thought of shipping the assets may seem like a hassle. What do you need when recycling old computers? How do you package them? 

Before we begin, let us ask: Do you have a reliable, expert corporate electronic recycling partner? Part of the reason retired assets tend to pile up is because many companies don’t know who they should trust. Alternatively, they don’t have time to search for one. Or, they don’t know what to look for. So, before you start shipping assets, let’s make sure the right recipient is waiting at their destination. 

When recycling old computers, finding the right partner will make the job easy

Here’s a quick recap of the key points we’ve made about this topic in the past:

Look beyond cost and location: Both are important but not everything. In fact, a surprisingly low bid should raise a red flag. Recycling costs tend to correlate with the rigorousness of asset disposition — and data cleansing in particular. Conversely, a well above average bid for equipment slated for destruction could be a sign that the material is being considered for secondary resale. In addition, a recycler down the block may seem convenient but it needs to fulfill far more important criteria than mere proximity. 

Transparency: Can you audit the data destruction and e-waste processes? Witnessed destruction, for example, means you can have a company representative on-site to ensure the data is sanitized in accordance with your contract and industry standards. 

Certificate of destruction: A promise is not good enough. Verified data destruction is crucial. Ensure your prospective ITAD partner provides a certificate of data destruction with a serialized inventory of data-bearing assets.

Customization: A solution tailored around your needs beats having to fit into a rigid structure. When your needs come first, it means it’s easy to do business. For example, when recycling old computers, your partner should adjust in accordance with your goals. Whether your primary aim is asset value recovery, corporate sustainability, or complete data destruction, an agile recycler will respond accordingly. 

Certifications: As the regulatory environment becomes more complex, certified electronic recycling services provide a systematic approach to recycling old computers and managing the disposition of other retired IT assets. Look for compliance with important industry standards for data sanitization (NIST SP 800-88 and DoD 5220.22-M) as well as the R2-certification. The latter ensures your partner meets the highest environmental and safety standards for the recycling of used electronics. 

What to remember before shipping computers for recycling

Now, we’re moving closer to the actual shipping of your assets. But there are a few more points to bear in mind. 

  • Accumulate as much as possible. It pays to wait for larger volumes to accumulate. It significantly reduces both freight costs and carbon emissions. Again, there’s a balance. If your assets are fit for resale, waiting too long can reduce their value. 
  • Keep the unit intact. Treat your assets with care even after they have reached the end of their life cycle. The fact is you can recoup so much more value if they arrive in good condition. 
  • Avoid degaussing. Some companies routinely put their hard drives through degaussing before they send them off for recycling. If your company is one of them, consider rethinking this practice. Degaussing renders the drive unusable and takes it out of the running in secondary markets. Let your electronics recycler evaluate your assets and determine which data destruction method  is the most optimal for you. 
  • Don’t request destruction unless you need it. Shredding breaks down data bearing devices into the finest commodities possible. If you have classified or proprietary items and want them shredded, it’s an understandable choice. But please remember you may recover more value if we don’t run them through the shredder. 

A few simple packaging tips and your job is done

Finally — shipping. It’s the job of your electronics recycler to make this step as swift as possible. By providing detailed instructions, you should be able to easily complete this step of recycling old computers. In summary, this is what you need:

  • Pallets
  • Lots of stretch wrap
  • The correct paperwork, such as the bill of lading and tracking number

Carriers require all items to be palletized prior to shipment. Then, different packaging techniques apply to the computer and its accessories. 

Your computers may not all be of the same size and weight. For non-cubic items, the recommendation is to begin large and heavy on the base and continue stacking (with care) in accordance with dimensions. Avoid pallet overhang and generously apply stretch wrap, starting at the bottom and working your way up and back down. Again, apply overlapping layers. There’s no need to hold back. Affix the necessary paperwork. 

For asymmetrical and other non-cubic items, such as your monitors, keyboards, and printers, assemble a gaylord box and place it squarely on the pallet. Carefully place items in the box, add a lid, and wrap it all up. As we like to say, it’s better to be safe than held responsible. 

Can we help you answer more questions about recycling old computers or our end-to-end e waste recycling solutions in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out

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