What Happens When You Dump Your PC?

Why does safely disposing of IT hardware matter so much?

The western world and east Asia consume huge amounts of IT hardware each day. Millions of computers, phones and other tech gets thrown out each year, with little or no thought given to recycling or refurbishing it. In 2016 the UK alone produced almost 15kg of electronic waste per capita, with other countries far exceeding this figure.

In this article we are going to explore what happens when a PC is thrown away as normal waste. It may not sound like a bad decision on the surface, but dig a little deeper, and this is the worst possible option for all parties.

Initial Disposal of E-Waste

If a PC fails and cannot keep up with your company’s requirements, consider if you were to throw it away along with your other waste, and instead of having its hard drive sanitised and shredded, it is simply discarded. This is a serious mistake. Before disposing of any hard drive, it should be completely sanitised so that none of the data can be accessed.

Simply deleting your files is not enough, as someone with the right skills and equipment will be able to salvage them. When your hard drive is discarded without being sanitised or shredded, your data is open for pillaging. A hard drive should be completely sanitised and then shredded to ensure that your important data is completely inaccessible.

Unethical IT disposal & pollution

After a PC is discarded, it becomes part of a giant shipment of waste that is sent across the world to be dumped. A recent study taken by the United Nations estimate that 90% of the world’s e-waste is illegally disposed of in third world countries. Your PC is now likely to join all this waste, and is shipped abroad to be dumped.

Instead of being repurposed for use by another company, the PC contributes to the increasing rates of pollution, as well as being vulnerable to thieves who make a living scavenging hard drives for sale to criminals.

IT hardware should be repurposed for use by other companies or organisations instead of being dumped. If a PC cannot be fixed, it can either be refurbished or recycled as parts to be reused for other purposes.

The risk of cyber crime & GDPR implications

Third world e-waste scavengers are part of global networks that sell data for criminal purposes, and your hard drive will become part of this trade. Since it can be traced back to the UK it’s an appealing target for cyber criminals. E-waste from Western Europe, North America and East Asia is highly sought after by cyber criminals due to the amount of valuable data that can be harvested from them.

Financial centres in the West store profitable data on their hard drives, so a cyber-criminal who has the means to exploit this will be willing to pay good money for it. They can use this data for a wide variety of criminal purposes, all of which can cause big problems for your business.

With new laws under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any company that suffers a data breach can face serious repercussions. With your data now no longer private, you are now legally obliged to tell your customers that cyber criminals could now have information about them. Reporting the data loss to customers inevitably causes reputational damage and loss of confidence. Failing to do this leads to a fine of €20 million, or 4% of your annual turnover, whichever is larger.

Remarket Your IT Assets Rather Than Dumping Them

At AssetCare, we provide IT remarketing services that ensure your data is gone forever by utilising complete data sanitisation and secure destruction of your hard drives. This means that no cybercriminal will ever be able to get their hands on it.

Then, we repurpose your hardware and dispose of any ruined parts in an ethical manner, making sure that your hardware never ends up as e-waste. Not only are you saving money due to the simpler process, but you’re also doing your bit for the environment, meeting GDPR regulations and saving money by remarketing your refurbished hardware.

Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our IT remarketing can help your company.