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How to recycle your old IT equipment?

Your equipment is obsolete, you wish to renew your IT equipment or you simply wonder how to manage the end of life of your IT equipment?

A discontinued PC, barcode reader or cash register terminal that is no longer under manufacturer’s warranty, no longer produced by the manufacturer or no longer functional can still be recycled.

Whether it’s reconditioning or recycling, you can give a second, third or even fourth life to your old IT equipment and it is essential for any company to know how to properly manage the end of life of its IT equipment.

Reconditioning or recycling, how do you know which end of life solution to use?

Once taken back, obsolete equipment is qualified and sorted. Unfortunately, some equipment cannot be reused due to its poor condition and must therefore be sent to an official recycling channel.

The sorting of professional IT equipment is divided into several categories, depending on the condition of the equipment:

  • Those that are still working can be repaired or reconditioned. Many companies sell their unused IT equipment to refurbishing professionals. This is known as “computer trade-in“. You can also consider donations and charities.
  • Machines and tools that cannot be repaired can be taken back at a lower cost. The equipment will be dismantled: 
  • Functional spare parts can be reused for maintenance operations
  • The other parts will be dismantled to recover components, spare parts and metals.

Recycling of professional IT equipment: can we recycle everything?

Since 2005, companies have been obliged to organise the recycling of their business IT equipment. This obligation is part of the European directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

In the same vein, since 2021, the REEN law in France also aims to set new and more ambitious targets for reuse and recycling rates. 

Recycling some IT equipment can be done easily, by following simple rules. However, recycling a large volume of IT equipment is a challenge. 

The actual management of the IT equipment covers hardware, network resources and software. Recycling IT equipment means knowing whether and how computers, routers or cables can be recycled.

What IT equipment can be recycled?

Many items of IT equipment can be recycled:

  • desktop and laptop computers, including their screens
  • central processing units ;
  • Headsets;
  • hard drives
  • USB sticks;
  • electrical cables and plugs;
  • scanners ;
  • touch tablets ;
  • smartphones ;
  • connectivity accessories ;
  • processors ;
  • printers ;
  • barcode terminals ;
  • payment terminals (TPE);
  • point-of-sale terminals (POS).

How do you recycle an entire computer fleet?

The recycling of an entire IT fleet is rarely handled by the company itself. 

Most companies therefore call on a company to organise the audit, removal, sorting, reuse and recycling of the equipment. The process is generally organised in 3 phases.

1 / Recovery and sorting of IT equipment

Initially, the service provider evaluates your computer equipment to propose its recovery. The buy-back prices depend on the condition of the various items of equipment, depending on whether they are still in working order or defective. Then comes the time to uninstall your equipment. At Codeo, we take back all your equipment, including all ranges and generations.

The service provider then takes charge of sorting out the entire IT equipment to be recycled. In particular, it differentiates between machines that are candidates for reconditioning and media to be sent for recycling.

This sorting must also make it possible to separate electrical and electronic equipment from those with screens. Battery-powered machines, battery-powered machines or machines that run on the mains do not require the same depollution work as laptops or tablets.

2 / Reconditioning

Many companies today choose reconditioned equipment to extend the life of their fleet, keep a homogeneous fleet longer or delay the renewal of their computer fleet. Your obsolete equipment has value, so consider having it valued for reuse!

For functional equipment, a series of technical and aesthetic tests are carried out in order to define the general condition, the necessary repairs/maintenance operations, and the grading of the equipment.

Those that can be repaired are reconditioned. They become available for resale under warranty. The others are dismantled to recover components, spare parts and metals.

3 / Processing computer waste

Computer “waste” can be recycled, but each with its own specific characteristics. For example

  • components are generally crushed and then burned by specialised outlets to extract the various metals (this is known as pyro-hydrometallurgy);
  • ferrous and non-ferrous metals – notably aluminium, steel, copper – are recycled;
  • The screens are depolluted because they contain dangerous materials (including mercury) and then partly recycled. The rest is generally incinerated;
  • As for the plastic of equipment, it is also sorted and then recycled if possible (40% on average).

Do you want to get rid of all or part of your IT equipment as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary storage costs? Submit your IT asset recovery project to us!