Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Fried Polar Bear or a Data Breach? You Choose?

Balance sheets do not care about the planet; that’s for sure.

Recycling costs. And it is something that irritates even big companies, even though the cost is really not huge. It is simply irritating because you are paying to throw something ‘of value’ away. Except that value has dissipated, but the budget holder see’s the cost of the new stuff and resents paying another few quid to make room for it.

We are constantly getting undercut. Either potential customers focus too much on the upfront costs and gives away a lot of resale value without knowing or maybe even caring, or they risk getting shafted by someone who will not do things properly.

Give eReco a list of stuff you intend to dispose of and we can judge the value. Not precisely, because as with used cars until you open the bonnet you cannot be quite sure, but an idea. And once we have done our stuff we like to share with our customers – as in give you money back. Not all of it of course. We have costs to cover and take on risks of our own. We put software back on where necessary and offer warranties. We clean things up, test them to make sure they are not about to explode and deliver them to their new owners. So we keep a percentage.

Some people like that, a lot. Mainly because they know they are regularly getting rid of stuff that retains some residual value. In those cases, we may agree not to charge for collection, processing and data erasure up front, but take that out before we divvy up. Our costs remain transparent but no filthy lucre changes hands at the first stage.

But most companies dispose of a mixture of stuff. Some good, some not so good. And in those circumstances collection and processing has to be paid for. If someone is not charging you for that I would be asking myself why.

However, the message we need to get across is a green one. I know a lot of people will be rolling their eyes at that comment. I have my moments too. It is why I prefer to talk about sustainability, but it is the most important issue here.

If you are getting rid of an electrical appliance with a memory function only two things count. Data security obviously and responsible disposal. Businesses pay to get rid of every other sort of waste so they have to pay for IT waste, even if it did cost them an arm and a leg once.

I am not bothered about being undercut on price. I really am quite happy to defend our costs, but I think the sustainability argument should have been won already. Then we are just left with data security and that is where the costs get cut by the unscrupulous.

Far too many ITAD suppliers are underselling themselves, and that must be either to the detriment of the environment or data security. There are no other costs to cut. So if you are making decisions on disposal based only on price, which one are you risking? Are you frying a polar bear or inviting someone to nick your database?