You’d think that the idea of IT hardware recycling would be pretty straightforward these days, but where there’s money to be made from literally anything on Earth, you can rest assured there’ll be dodgy dealers at work. IT recycling is sadly no exception to the rule as while the vast majority of redundant IT recyclers on the market are wholly above board, there will always be those that are out to deceive for the sake of their own personal gain.

So, in order to communicate and clarify just a few of the most important basics, the following FAQ addresses a selection of commonly asked questions and their answers:

1 – What Do Responsible Recycling Firm’s Do with IT Hardware?

The first and most important step in the process is to get every last piece of equipment broken down to its fundamental parts, which are then separated into several groups. Certain materials are grouped together for recycling, other parts that can be reused right away are put to one side and anything that cannot be recycled or reused is grouped together in order to be responsibly disposed of. Some items may be put back into use right away, some parts sold on and others given away if and when they can be of value. In all instances however, nothing that can be reused goes to waste and no IT hardware should be put into landfill sites.

2 – Why is Paperwork Necessary?

It often comes across as odd that paperwork will be completed and handed over after organising the collection of scrap IT hardware, but it is nonetheless of real importance. The reason being that the UK government is pretty strict when it comes to exactly how IT equipment should be recycled and the way it must be processed and handled after being handed over. As such, the only way a responsible IT recycling business is able to prove this is to keep documentation that begins with the collection of the recyclable materials and ends when they’re actually recycled. If you’re not offered paperwork, it could be a sign of a less-than ideal service provider.

3 – What About These Companies Saying They’ll Donate the Equipment to Africa?

As much as it sounds like a noble cause and one worth contributing to, there is in fact just one single charity with full government backing that ships used IT hardware to Africa. And what’s more, they’re very selective about what they send and won’t touch anything that’s even remotely outdated or unlikely to function properly. As such, when and where you come across a provider which tries to tell you that your equipment will be sent to Africa for charitable purposes, it’s about 99% likely they’re not being honest with you. What actually happens to the hardware they take is anyone’s guess, but for sure it won’t be recycled as it should be.

4 – Should I Choose a Local Company or a Larger National Brand?

It’s always recommended that where and when possible, you recycle as much of you can across the board via local brands and businesses. The reason being that the biggest recycling brands in the country are already incredibly powerful and run by millionaire tycoons, while many of the smaller recycling chains that genuinely contribute to the country’s recycling efforts struggle to stay in business. And of course, you’re much more likely to get that all-important personal touch from a smaller local business.

5 – What About My Hard Drives?

It’s always a good idea to use high-quality data removal software before getting rid of any hard drives or storages units – your personal data can be pure gold if it falls into the wrong hands. However, as this kind of software can be both expensive and in some cases complicated to use, there’s much to be said for choosing a recycling service that does the data removal on your behalf. And if you manage to find a recycling service that’s registered with the Information Commissioners under the Data Protection Act, you really couldn’t be in safer hands.

6 – Why Can’t I Just Throw My Equipment in the Bin?

Technically you can, but in doing so you’ll prevent a huge proportion of its materials and components being put back to good use, which in turn puts more strain on already limited resources. What’s more, there’s plenty to be found in a great many pieces of IT hardware that contain toxic chemicals and materials, which is why it’s crucial to make sure they’re properly disposed of for the greater good of everyone.