Tuesday, 4 November 2014

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Businesses should be used to paying for having their rubbish taken away. It is the way of the world and everyone has their own skip or bin and private arrangements with their chosen supplier. Except you can’t put that broken fax machine in there. You can’t dump that old keyboard, or those cables that must have gone with something once?

Most redundant IT kit is junk of course. It is redundant for a reason, right?

Well, yes and no.

Actually here at eReco we remarket quite a lot of the PC’s and laptops we collect from all over the country as well as servers and anything else that still has value. The percentage varies wildly. Some will claim more and some less but it all depends on what it is, how old it is and what is wrong with it. We try very hard because reuse, a longer life cycle, is the best option environmentally. Just because your desktop could not cope with Windows 8 or whatever does not mean that someone else might not love to own it.

So this is a problem. Every wily businessman seems to think that his (or her, wiliness is not gender specific) old junk is worth a bob or two. And if it is worth something why should he/she pay someone to collect it?
And if you search IT recycling you will find lots of people who claim to do it for free (although you will have to watch the small print and possibly have a small container load to get that admittedly attractive price) with all the bells and whistles.

The truth is you pay your money and you take your choice. If you have a lot of stuff free collection is viable, depending on what it is. Our experience is that there is a huge discrepancy between what we are asked to collect and what we actually pick up. There is normally more, because rather like the skip you hire for your garden waste our collection notice seems to attract all sorts of extra donations before we get there. So we give an estimate first of all and confirm the situation when we have the stuff in front of the experts.

And yes, if there is value there we give a rebate. But we do charge for dating wiping because we need to cover not only the skilled process itself but the raising of all the paperwork. And we do cover ourselves for cleaning things up, PAT testing it to make sure the equipment is safe and selling it on. I am bound to say that we do things properly, with rigorous third party accreditation. Yes, at the end of the recycling process we receive money under the WEEE regulations but that does not cover the other services we provide...not unless you cut corners.

My advice would be to remember what you are doing here. You are disposing of an asset that has already been depreciated but which almost certainly still contains your vital data, your customer records, bank details, addresses. You legal responsibilities are to dispose of it via a professional recycler and to ensure that your data is dealt with (erased, removed, destroyed) securely. You are required to keep an audit trail to prove that you have met your responsibilities.

So if anyone offers to do that for free, I’d check them out. Are they using the right software and processes? Do they have third party accreditation? Do they provide all the right paperwork?

There really is no such thing as a free lunch.