IT bosses failing to ensure proper e-waste disposal

A fifth of senior IT decision makers in the UK are not confident that all of their company's redundant computer equipment is being diverted from landfill, according to new research.

Despite the landfilling of e-waste being an illegal practice, the survey found that only 65% of respondents were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that of all their unwanted IT equipment was not being disposed of in this way.

In addition, only 14% of respondents said that they follow best practice when it comes to IT disposal and send their working IT for reuse. One of the main reasons cited for avoiding reuse were concerns over data protection, followed by cost and contractual obligations.

And while 83% believe their company complies with the WEEE directive, 13% of respondents were not aware of the directive at all. Of all the disposal methods, recycling IT equipment is the preferred option with 28% of companies recycling all of their IT and 41% recycling more than half.

The study of 100 IT managers and directors, commissioned by Computer Aid International, examined how companies with over 1,000 employees dispose of their IT and the factors that influence their disposal methods.

It found that despite declining IT budgets, PC turnover in the UK remains high with respondents disposing of an average of 542 computers per year. Typically, UK companies replace their base units every 3.7 years and their monitors every four years.

Despite the economic climate, one third of companies replace their base units as often as every three years and one in five replace monitors during this time frame as well.

Commenting on the results, Computer Aid’s director of communications, Anja Ffrench, said: “Companies must use disposal providers that can track exactly where all their equipment is sent to so as to avoid the devastating impact on health and the environment that e-waste can cause.

“Moreover, policies need to be put in place to ensure more reuse of working equipment. Disposing of PCs after four years is a huge waste of resources since most computers will last for at least double this time.”

Maxine Perella

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