The Circular Economy of E-Waste

When purchasing a new computer, phone, and other electronics, most of us don’t think about where the materials needed to produce them come from. The same is true regarding where our retired e-waste goes once it’s obsolete or replaced with newer technology. The climate is shifting as we’re faced with a growing number of electronic waste in landfills. Because of environmental awareness, we’re seeing a global shift from a linear model of production to a circular model. This is especially important in electronics recycling. Securis has long practiced the circular economy of e-waste.

Linear vs circular economy comparison from-waste recycling viewpoint

Take, Make, Break, and Toss: The Linear Model

“If people think about where their goods come from and where they end up, they’re probably thinking about the old, linear model,” says Laura Ware, Enterprise Sales and Sustainability Officer at Securis. “The linear model is, basically, ‘take, make, take, break, and toss.’ Companies take the resources they need to make a product, the customer takes the product and uses it until it breaks, and then tosses it where it ends up in a landfill. Electronics recycling is so important because it means that we’re repurposing and reusing as much raw material as we possibly can.”

The Circular Economy

The idea of a circular economy dates back to the late 1960s but gained widespread popularity in the early 2000s with the publication of the book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The book analyzes the ways in which production and manufacturing can upcycle rather than downcycle goods to ensure that resources are continually be reused and refreshed.

Concept of circular economy with businessman

Securis’ commitment to generate zero waste and ensure nothing ends up in a landfill is putting a circular economy model into daily business practices. Securis has been at the forefront of the circular economy before it was a known term. “While I’ve only been with Securis for a few months,” Laura says, “Jeremy Farber (Founder and President) started the business in the early 2000s before conservation and sustainability were boardroom buzzwords. Today, every business is looking for ways to do better for the environment. We’re here to help them do that.”

Committed to the Environment through E-Waste Recycling

Whether or not it’s data destruction and shredding or electronic waste recycling, Securis has built its business – and its reputation – on delivering exceptional results for its customers while adhering to strict environmental guidelines and certification mandates, such as those given by R2 and other industry governors.

“I love when customers have that ‘A-HA! moment,” says Laura. It’s when they realize that working with us is a win-win scenario. It’s better for the environment, it’s better for the bottom line, and it can put money in your pocket. It shows you that the circular economy really is made up of virtuous cycles with Securis right in the middle of it.”

Destroying SSDs: Drive Type Matters

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a vital component of the machines we rely on. SSDs are essential to the operation of desktop computers, laptops, and servers. When the time comes to dispose of old equipment through data destruction, how the SSD is handled is one of the most important aspects of the process.

There are several different types of solid state drives. How these drives are shredded and disposed of varies based on what type of SSD it is. Securis’ team knows how to safely and effectively dispose of all types of SSDs and guarantees the physical destruction of each disk drive.

Essentially, there are three different types of solid state drives:

  • Laptop SSDs
  • Computer SSDs
  • Server SSDs

Laptops tend to be the most straightforward to dispose of, while servers tend to be the most difficult. Between the two are desktop computer SSDs. Each type of drive has its own set of challenges and steps that must be followed to ensure the proper destruction of the SSD.

Destroying SSDs

“We have the ability to shred each type of SSD,” says Nabil Frangieh, Service Manager at Securis. “Knowing which drives we’re dealing with ensures the customer gets an accurate estimate for what their job will cost. Servers are more labor-intensive than laptop drives, and are therefore more expensive to destroy.”

Laptop Solid State Drives

“When it comes to destroying SSDs, the least labor-intensive are laptop SSDs,” says Nabil. “With these, you simply open the machine and they come right out. We can then take the entire drive and shred it.”

Laptops are designed to be small, light, and portable. One way to eliminate both weight and size is to use simplified drives. Unlike desktops and servers, laptop SSDs are designed to be light and compact – giving users portable, powerful laptops. The downside to this efficiency is that SSDs in laptops tend to be more exposed and at risk of damage.

“Most higher-end laptops have an aluminum coating which helps to protect the SSD somewhat. Still, one accidental laptop drop and the SSD could be damaged.” Even with the added risk and typically smaller size, laptop SSDs are comparable to other types of solid state drives in terms of memory and storage.

Desktop Computer Solid State Drives

“For businesses, four years is about the limit for desktop computers,” Nabil says. “At that time, you’ll notice drags, capacity issues, and an inability to work on multiple projects at once.” When it’s time to upgrade or recycle, destroying SSDs from desktop computers requires a bit more effort than a laptop’s SSD to destroy.

“You can’t simply pop out a desktop computer SSD and shred it,” continued Nabil. The aluminum casing is designed to protect the SSD and will damage the shredder, which adds a step to destroying the drive. First, the SSD and its casing are removed, and then we remove the drive from its aluminum casing in order to shred it. Given the added step, the process takes longer and requires more manpower, which means that it’s a bit more expensive to physically destroy them.”

Server Solid State Drives

Like desktops, server SSDs are housed in a protective aluminum casing. Given the demands and needs placed on them, server SSDs may also be enclosed in additional layers of casing. In that case, labor and time are higher due to the extra step of taking the SSD casing out of its housing.

“It’s about security and protection of a machine’s data and its memory capacity,” Nabil explains. “Server SSDs are designed to withstand a lot. We’re experts in getting through the protective layers so our clients can have the data on their server solid state drives destroyed safely, securely, and efficiently, even with these built-in protections.”

Knowing which SSDs a client needs destroyed helps everyone involved with electronic recycling and data destruction. Securis prides itself on its accuracy and ability to work with clients on all of their end-of-life electronics needs.

To find out how Securis can help your business, let us provide you with a free quote and let us know how you can make the most out of your old machines – whether they need to be recycled or destroyed.

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