By Chris Keenan

When the time arrives to dispose of your company’s old laptops your options can be summarised as follows:
1. recycle your old corporate laptops and save the planet.
2. sell your old business laptops and save some money.
3. donate your old company laptops and save someone else some money.
4. destroy your old work laptops and save your sanity by not worrying about data protection laws.

All four options have their upsides, but listed below is what you can honestly expect from each method of laptop disposal.

Recycling your old business laptops.

Pick up your pickax and dust off your mining equipment because “there’s gold in ‘em’ laptops”! That’s right, your old laptop has gold, silver, copper, aluminum and other such high value metals.  In fact, just about everything in a laptop can be reclaimed, which means the laptop is one of the few consumer electronics that is truly 100% recyclable.

Before you start demanding money from your recycler, you should first understand the process for extracting those prize nuggets of laptop gold.  First, how much gold is actually in a laptop? According to Dell, a laptop computer can contain between $25 and $35 worth of gold.  Here’s the problem: to get the gold you need to dissolve the circuit boards in acid and then extract the gold using a vat of cyanide!  Just in case you’ve never seen a Sherlock Holmes movie, cyanide is so deadly it will kill you in just a few minutes.  After all that nasty business, the metals are then separated using a process of electrolysis, which uses massive amounts of electrical energy.  Taking into account the expense of collection, de-manufacturing and data destruction, that $30 gold nugget doesn’t come close to covering the costs.

Don’t worry, all is not lost. The term used for making recycling profitable goes by the rather fun name of ‘urban mining’.  The only way to make money from urban mining is to recycle thousands upon thousands of laptops at a time.  So, if your company wants to recycle its old laptops then it should do so with the view to saving the planet and not saving a buck or two.  Here’s the good news – Newtech Recycling is one of those ITAD companies that manages to make urban mining work to the point where they will recycle your laptops for free!   So, if you are out to save the planet give them a call on: 732 564 3110.

Selling your old business laptops.

If you have your heart set on making money from your old company laptops then you might want to consider reselling them.  Finding someone to buy old company laptops is relatively easy.  However, before you take the first offer you should know your options and learn the lingo.  First, the two keywords for selling laptops are: refurbished & remarketed. If you want to get as much as possible for your old laptop it might be worth having it refurbished.  A laptop refurbishment might be nothing more than a clean or could be as complex as an upgrade of the OS, adding a new battery and even replacing the hard drive and ram.   In some cases, a well refurbished laptop can increase in their market value by as much as 300%.  This leads us nicely to the second term: “remarketed”.  Remarketing is all about the market you wish to sell your old laptops in.  Some laptop resellers utilize ecommerce platforms, others have their own network of sellers.

Sadly, by the time you’ve factored in the cost of a refurbishment and the reseller’s marketing fee’s, your profits from reselling old laptops amount to a rather thin bundle of notes.  By far one of the best approaches is to have a recycler refurbish and remarket your old laptops and use the proceeds to count against any other recycling costs you may have e.g. data destruction (hard drive wipe and shred).  In that way the recycler takes on the burden, leaving you to simply enjoy the profits or savings.  A word of warning.  Laptops are still subject to data protection laws, so it’s probably a good idea to have the hard drives replaced and ensure the old drives are shredded.

Donating your old business laptops.

This may sound a little bit ungrateful, but if you are donating laptops that only have a short life span left in them, you’re effectively giving the charity a disposal problem of their own.  Donating laptops to a charity is a noble thing to do, especially if those laptops are running the latest software, have at least 24 months left in the battery and are WIFI enabled.  However, please remember that even charities have to pay to have their old laptops collected, not to mention data destruction (hard drive shredding) and recycling. If you have your heart set on donating old laptops then it’s usually a good idea to find an e-waste recycler that works especially with charities as they usually bundle into the offer a free recycling deal.  This means that when the day comes and the laptop dies, the charity will not have to pay.

Destroying your old business laptops.

If your old corporate laptops have been used to process, store or carry any form of personal data then you should not take any risks and should have the hard drives destroyed!  The protection of data associated with US citizens is regulated by laws enacted on both the national and the state level.  If an old laptop hard drive is found with personal information that has not been destroyed then at best you could be looking at a fine. At worst it could be time to develop your shivvie / shank making skills as failure to destroy sensitive data can result in a prison sentence.

Most large corporations run a data protection policy that takes no risks.  When old laptops need to be replaced, working or not, they are simply destroyed and the materials recycled.  Remember that a laptop is classified as e-waste so you can’t crush or shred a laptop and then dump it.  A laptop needs to be demanufactured (taken apart and separated into materials), and have its hard drive is removed and shredded.   The shredding ensures that all data, no matter how sensitive or trivial, is permanently destroyed.

Getting professional help.

No matter what you decide to do with your old laptops, Newtech Recycling is able to help.  Dispose of your laptops correctly, ethically and legally, for more information call Newtech today on: 732 564 3110 or visit our website: CLICK HERE