HP breathes new life into IT asset recovery

HP is embarking on a ground-breaking producer responsibility drive as it looks to exploit global opportunities in the reuse and asset recovery market for its commercial IT equipment.

Yesterday (May 15) saw the official opening of its technology renewal centre in Erskine, Scotland, which is geared towards helping blue chip firms and government organisations manage the complexity of IT disposal in the workplace.

The 8,400sqm facility will refurbish end-of-life technology such as PCs and data centre equipment, allowing customers to acquire certified legacy HP products and provide them with a range of asset management and recovery services that span reverse logistics, remarketing and recycling of IT equipment.

The facility is owned and operated by HP Financial Services (HPFS), the company’s leasing and asset management subsidiary. According to HPFS’s director of global asset management Jim O’ Grady, the reuse market is evolving and becoming more complex – a trend which he feels HP can capitalise on.

“We are doing research right now to size up the reuse market, it is much bigger than anyone expected,” he told edieWaste. “There is a real knowledge gap out there on reuse and we want to know where the secondary market [for IT equipment] is going because it is driven by very disruptive forces.”

Those disruptions are resulting from the fast evolution of IT technologies and the advent of cloud computing, which is significantly changing the way companies are doing business. HPFS’s sales & marketing director Gerri Gold says that this is creating real concerns around data management, compliance and risk for customers.

“There are at least 160 pieces of legislation relating to end-of-life technologies now, that is overwhelming for any business. What we can do with this facility is work with them to create an end-to-end asset management lifecycle approach,” she said.

O’ Grady added that companies are becoming increasingly aware of the implications of irresponsible disposal as it could put their brand reputation at risk.

“I go to many customer sites and see PCs piled up in a room, some of that equipment is eight or nine years old. The cost of just storing that is significant, not to mention the complexity and data security issues of trying to redistribute it to staff or re-selling/donating it back into the market,” he said.

With more than 120 million PCs expected to be refurbished, remarketed and reused over the next five years in the global secondary market alone, the company says the timing of its new facility is crucial.

According to O’ Grady, IT equipment processed at the site will be put through a rigorous renewal process that includes reconditioning, testing and certifying assets back to original manufacturing standards before they are remarketed or rebuilt to specific customer requirements.

HP already has a near identical facility operating out in the US which has rapidly expanded to keep up with demand. The new site in Erskine will build on this by predominantly catering for the company’s customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In terms of tonnage, HP expects the global e-waste market to more than double over the next four years to 93.5 million tonnes by 2016, compared to the current figure of 41.5 million tonnes. O’ Grady says that the company currently manages and remarkets more than 2.3 million legacy IT assets each year.

Maxine Perella

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