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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Getting Rid of Your Old Company Laptops

Safely, Securely & Environmentally Friendly

When it comes time to get rid of your company’s old laptops, how do you dispose of them? You can’t just throw them away, as that would be bad for the environment, and old laptops are typically not accepted by curbside recycling programs. However, they can be processed through special e-waste recycling or IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) programs. And, since laptops contain heavy metals and hazardous chemicals that can negatively impact the environment, they should be handled carefully and recycling should be left to the professionals.

Let’s take a look at some options for disposing of your company’s old laptops:

  • Recycle your old laptops – Go Green!
  • Donate your old laptops and save someone else some money.
  • Sell your old laptops and recoup some of your investment.
  • Destroy your old laptops so you don’t have to think about data protection laws.

Each process has its own benefits, but only one will actually bring some money back to your bottom line.  Listed below is what you can honestly expect from each method of laptop disposal.

  1. Recycling Laptops

Since laptops contain valuable materials, including gold, silver, and platinum, recycling them can  actually be profitable. There are a plethora of e-waste recyclers just waiting to take them off your hands. In fact, just about everything in a laptop can be reclaimed, which means the laptop is one of the few consumer electronics that is truly 100% recyclable.

But, before you start demanding money for your old laptops, you need to understand the process for extracting the variable materials from a laptop.  According to Dell, a laptop computer can contain between $25 and $35 worth of gold.  Here’s the problem: to get the gold you need to dissolve the circuit boards in acid and then extract the gold using a vat of cyanide — cyanide is so deadly it will kill you in a manner of minutes.  The metals are then separated using a process of electrolysis, which uses massive amounts of electrical energy.  Add in the expenses of collection, de-manufacturing and data destruction, and it may not be as profitable as you thought.  

OceanTech, a leading provider of IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) and Recycling services believes that reuse is the best form of recycling so our ITAD services follow a strict “no-landfill” policy. We use best practices for environmentally responsible recycling, maximizing material recovery for reuse.

  1. Donating Your Used Laptops

Donating laptops to a charity might seem like the ethical thing to do….especially if those laptops are running the latest software, are WiFi enabled and have at minimum battery life of 24 months. If you’re donating laptops that only have a short life span left in them, you’re essentially giving the charity a disposal problem of their own.  Even charities have to pay to have their old laptops collected, not to mention data destruction (hard drive shredding) and recycling costs.

  1. Selling Your Used Laptops

For many companies, making money from their old company laptops seems like the fiscally responsible thing to do.  

There are two keywords for selling laptops: refurbish & remarket. If you want to get as much as possible for your old laptop, it might be worth having it refurbished.  A laptop refurbishment might be nothing more than “cleaning it” or it could be as complex as an upgrade of the OS, adding a new battery and even replacing the hard drive and ram.  

The second term, Remarket, is all about the market you wish to sell your old laptops in.  Some laptop resellers utilize e-commerce platforms, others have their own network of sellers.  OceanTech’s expert sales team works within our exceptional network of trusted consumers to ensure your equipment is sold to the best end-user or IT hardware broker for maximum return on your assets.

By far one of the best approaches is to have an e-waste recycler or ITAD refurbish and remarket your old laptops and use the proceeds to count against any other recycling costs you may have, e.g., data destruction (hard drive wipe and/or shred).  When doing it this way, the ITAD takes on any legal requirements having to do with data protection laws, leaving you to simply enjoy the profits or savings. 

Keep in mind that you still have to factor in the cost of a refurbishment and in some cases, a Reseller’s marketing fees, so your profits from reselling old laptops can vary from hardly anything to a nice profit.

At OceanTech, any equipment that still holds market value is sanitized of all data, reset to factory default settings and returned to Grade-A condition to guarantee the best possible resale rate.  Our thoroughly secured facilities create a superior environment for our state-of-the-art data wiping and erasing process as well as the testing, evaluation, remarketing and shipment of electronics.

  1. Destroying Your Used Laptops

If your old corporate laptops have been used to process, store or carry any form of personal data, then you should probably have the hard drives destroyed!  The protection of data in the United States is regulated by laws enacted on both the national and the state level.  If an old laptop hard drive is found with personal information on it, you could be looking at hefty fines and/or penalties.

Most government agencies have a data protection policy that takes no risks.  When old laptops need to be replaced, working or not, they are simply destroyed and the materials recycled.  Remember that a laptop is classified as e-waste so you can’t crush or shred a laptop and then dump it.  A laptop needs to be de-manufactured (taken apart and separated into materials), and have its hard drive removed and shredded.   The shredding ensures that all data, no matter how sensitive or trivial, is permanently destroyed.

  1. Getting professional help

No matter what you decide to do with your old laptops, OceanTech can help.   Our wide network of remarketing channels and licensed recyclers allows us to pay more for your retired assets while offering convenient, nationwide logistics support and arranging a full-service IT asset disposition package that meets your requirements.

And, as a leader in ITAD and data center decommissioning, it is vital that we meet or exceed all industry standards and data destruction regulations. We do this by maintaining R2:2013 Responsible Recycling, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System certifications.

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