Isn't it something how, as the processing power of computer chips increases, technology that was once cutting edge quickly becomes obsolete? If you’re in the middle of replacing your old hardware with more advanced technology, you may be wondering, “What should I do with the old equipment?”
This is a great question to ask, as there are much better ways to lose your outdated gear than to dump it in the garbage. We’ll walk you through the best options below.
First things first: Important initial steps.
We do a lot of replacement projects; no matter what the plan involves, our process includes a couple ubiquitous steps before we actually discard any machinery. They are as follows:
1.) Consider the condition of the hardware. Here’s one of the most common misconceptions about replacing hardware: you’ve made the determination that the machine doesn’t suit your needs anymore, so you figure no one could use it. Just as with clothes that don’t fit anymore, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Is there still life in the machine? Is it in reasonable physical condition? If so, you may want to give the device to someone else, which we’ll talk more about later.
2.) Fully remove all data and configurations. Regardless of what you do with it, it is absolutely critical that all configurations and data are wiped clean and deleted. There are a number of software packages that can do this for you, and there are also less expensive solutions that clean hard drives and make it difficult for people to go back and retrieve data that was once there.
What to do with old technology hardware
With the initial steps established, we can now get into the best options for letting go of the hardware.
- Donate it. There’s no end to the number of organizations that will use old machines to help give technology to people who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Local religious establishments, Boys and Girls Clubs, and charitable organizations would gladly accept your donation. Also, if the machines haven’t reached full depreciation, you can get a nice tax write-off, too.
- Give it to your employees. This is popular. If your machine still has some life left, you can make sure it’s fully wiped and offer the machines to employees to take home.
- Repurpose it. The machine has outlived its useful life as a day-to-day workhorse in your organization, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be used as a training workstation or run conferencing/media software. It may require an inexpensive RAM or hard drive update, but if it’s serving a limited, singular purpose, it doesn’t need to be as robust as the one you give your accountant.
- Sell it. Another option is to engage with services that will come in and evaluate the equipment, and then attempt to sell it. They’ll give you a percentage of the profit and demolish the equipment that are no longer sellable. There is certainly a market for used IT equipment.
- Recycle it. There are a few different ways to do this. Some free recycling programs (see: Dell Reconnect) will require you to drop off your items at participating locations. Others will pick your equipment up for you, charge a rate for the number of machines, and they’ll destroy them in an environmentally-conscious way. Some of these programs will sell your working equipment and give the proceeds to charity. Local Electronics Recycling, an Akooba company, specializes in IT asset disposition and makes sure to explore all reuse options. They have a zero-landfill policy, and also compensate Akooba customers if their electronics are resold.
Whatever you choose to do with the old equipment, you should make that decision a part of a disposal policy so that everyone knows the procedure, and there won’t be any unnecessary hardware lingering around taking up valuable real estate in your office.