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Why Recycling Your Unwanted Hardware Is Good for The Environment and Can Help to Ensure That You Are Getting the Most from Your IT Budget

According to around 95 percent of computers owned by UK business end up in a landfill. From the 500 businesses which were surveyed by the company, only 5% said they had plans to responsibly dispose of electronic waste.

Statistically, it is overwhelmingly more likely for a UK business to have an employee set about perfectly good, but an aging piece of hardware with hammers than it is for it to be collected, reused and recycled.

An Environmental and Social Responsibility

According to Mark Hall, Commerical Director of, it takes nearly a quarter of a ton of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and a ton and a half of water to manufacture one computer and monitor. A failure to dispose of used IT correctly is damaging to the environment and a waste of resources. Much of this IT, even if unwanted by the original owner, could be used to help those less fortunate.

There are a number of charities and schemes that remanufacturer hardware for those who otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity to develop essential IT skills. Access to technology is a problem particularly in Africa, and charities are now sending old PC’s that are no longer suitable for use in the UK market, to countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Sound Commercial Sense

Failure to comply with WEEE regulations regarding disposal of IT hardware can now result in fines of £5,000 (minimum) and civil action being taken against the offending company. However, there are other commercial reasons to dispose of hardware correctly as much of the IT which ends up in a skip has a rebate value and can be sold on to companies involved in asset disposal who will refurb and reuse unwanted hardware.

It’s easy to forget that just because an old device isn’t suitable for you and your organisation, it is likely to still have some value in the second-hand IT market. For many UK businesses budgets are tight right now, and a high-quality set of refurbished PCs could be the answer to those crying out for a hardware refresh where new equipment is not viable. This is particularly true in schools and public sector organisations. The value of the secondary IT market is estimated at more than $300 billion.

Concerns Over Data Security

So, why when disposing of unwanted electronic equipment, which would allow companies to free up valuable space, provide an opportunity to make some money, and protect the environment are companies still refusing to recycle their old computer equipment? The main reason, according to Mark Hall is because of concerns over data security. “Nervous bosses are worried that their data could fall into the wrong hands if it is sent for recycling,” said Hall. “Scares over identity theft and corporate crime mean that they’d rather completely destroy computer goods themselves than hand it to a third party to be disposed of correctly.”

Hall adds that those involved in waste management could show electronic goods have been disposed of securely but many businesses are either unaware of these disposal facilities, or choose not to work with them.

What to Look For

When looking for companies to sell your unwanted IT to it would be wise to find companies who are able to provide a complete data destruction service with full certification. This will guarantee that all data and media devices have been completely data wiped and physically destroyed; thus, ensuring that you are complying with GDPR regulations.

It would also be environmentally responsible to work with companies who comply with all WEEE regulations and UK legislation best practices.

Further, many IT departments are incredibly busy and so it would be wise to work with companies who can take the complete stress out of the process.

Steel City Consulting work with companies to ensure they get fast and accurate pricing for their used hardware. We can turn around a quote for any unwanted hardware in the same day it is requested, and with a free collection service and prompt payments we offer maximum financial returns to our clients. All of the data and media devices that we buy will be issued with a certificate to show the hardware has been wiped clean, and we comply with all WEEE regulations.

For more information on our asset disposition services please visit our services page or contact our team today on 0114 400 0038.

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