Dumping Old PCs

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years. Unfortunately, less than 20 percent of PCs retired in the U.S. are recycled most years, instead creating what is being termed “e-waste.”

To help reverse this trend, the U.S. government recently passed legislation that imposes penalties and fines on companies that do not practice environmentally proper IT disposal. According to a survey conducted by HP, the majority of companies-especially small-to-medium businesses (SMBs)-underestimate the security, financial and environmental impact of technology equipment disposal. Key findings include:

• 70 percent of respondents underestimate the cost of disposing of PCs;

• 66 percent of executives with purchasing authority are unaware of the financial implications of ignoring environmental regulations when disposing of IT equipment; and

• The biggest concern regarding disposal of IT equipment is data security and privacy.

So, what is the “politically correct” way to dispose of aging technology equipment? IT leaders like HP are increasing their commitment to real-world solutions that help customers achieve environmental responsibility, while also helping them get a better return on their IT investments.

E-Cycling computers and their components can be done to build new computers. HP helped its customers recycle more than 140 million pounds of hardware and print cartridges last year-the equivalent weight of 280 jumbo airliners! More and more retailers are also offering recycled products, which helps keep them out of landfills and other disposal sites.

Leasing is another way for companies to mitigate the various risks involved with acquiring IT assets, because the lessor assumes the responsibility for proper disposal of equipment at the end of its useful life. Leasing protects customers against the fines and consequences associated with violating environmental regulations, as well as from violations of data security and personal privacy laws. Similarly, older systems can be traded in for discounts on the price of new machines through such programs as HP’s “Ditch Your Dinosaur,” which offers a $100 rebate when customers trade in an outdated computer.

Donating computers to charities in need is a positive option to consider. Like older cars, they can be used as an effective tax write-off for a business, while benefiting worthwhile organizations. For example, HP and many others work with the National Cristina Foundation. This organization helps people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons lead more independent and productive lives by providing them with computer technology and training.