There are lots of things that need to change before the dumping of toxic tech waste is stopped, and one of these is the way IT managers and directors handle the disposal of their technology.
Experts say that a lot of big-name companies and public sector departments simply don’t know where their IT waste is ending up, because they don’t audit the process properly. They take too much on trust – they believe the refurbishment or recycling firm when it tells them the waste has been taken care of safely, when really it’s on its way to Ghana. A good proportion – possibly tens of thousands of containers a year – of our waste is being dumped each year in developing countries.
If you have any control over the IT waste disposal process in a company, you can play a crucial role in stopping this. If the altruistic and environmental reasons aren’t enough to convince you, it’s worth remembering that it’s a legal requirement to get proof that your waste was dealt with responsibly.
It’s incredibly easy to check up on your refurbishment firm, as the Environment Agency and Computer Aid International explained to us yesterday. This is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with at the very top: criminals are always going to try and make money by getting IT departments to pay them to remove waste, so the key is to make it that bit harder for them to do so.
All IT managers need to do is demand proof they are a legitimate firm – apply the same level of rigour to the disposal process as is applied to the procurement process. If UK companies take this one easy step, they will be helping to stop the devastating effects technology waste is having in some parts of the world.