What You Don’t Know About Your ITAD Vendor (And How to Find Out)
What many organizations don’t realize about IT asset disposition (ITAD) is that the vendor that picks up their equipment to be recycled or remarketed is not necessarily the last one to touch the equipment. Asset disposition is a chain that extends from the original owner to the final disposition of the asset, ideally through recycling or remarketing. No matter where that piece of equipment or it’s components are along the chain, if it is handled in an irresponsible or non-compliant manner, the original owner could be held liable. In a previous article, we introduced some questions to ask your company’s IT recycler to ensure it is handling your material safely, responsibly, and legally. Those questions included:
- Asking for a tour of the recycler’s facility.
- Asking how it makes its money (if it offers services for free).
- Asking which companies process the material downstream.
That last question, about the downstream partners, is a particularly critical one. If your IT assets exchange several hands before reaching their final resting place, it is virtually impossible to investigate every link in the chain on your own. Your IT recycler or remarketer might have impeccable standards at its domestic facilities, but who knows what standards (if any) are observed at the facilities where they ship your material – some of which could be overseas.
Fortunately, there is a way to remove the uncertainty about what your partners do with your retired IT assets. Leading certifications for proper electronics recycling, like e-Stewards or R2/RIOS, require that those recyclers or remarketers that become certified perform an audit of all their downstream partners and provide documented proof that all the material is being processed in compliance with all laws and standards.
The downstream fate of recycled IT equipment and it’s component materials is a particular focus of both certifications. For example, an e-Stewards certified vendor must not export hazardous e-waste from developed to developing countries. An e-Stewards or R2/RIOS certified vendor must also collect and document data on the entire chain of custody for toxic materials and be prepared to provide it to any customer who requests it.
These standards apply equally to remarketers as they do to recyclers. To qualify as an e-Stewards certified vendor, a remarketer must provide proof that when it can’t sell a piece of equipment, that piece of equipment is sent to a compliant recycling provider and not to a landfill or to an overseas “processor.” . According to the e-Stewards standard, all remarketed equipment must be functional and whole.
More best practices for IT recycling and remarketing
The environmental compliance issues surrounding IT asset disposition can be tricky to navigate. Choosing to work with an e-Stewards or R2/RIOS certified vendor is one of the best ways to ensure you company’s environmental obligations and objectives are being met. Our free white paper on environmental compliance in IT asset disposition discusses why at greater length. Download it by clicking on the image below.
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