Reusing Decommissioned Data Center Equipment

Data centers seem to be popping up everywhere. As they close or upgrade, it’s important to reuse as possible in the data center decommissioning process.

inside a data center

The circular economy has become a critical aspect of the tech industry. This prioritizes things like reuse in data center decommissioning processes. 

What can be reused?

There are many parts of a data center that can be reused. For example, when a data center is shut down, the equipment doesn’t need to go to waste, other facilities can utilize it. 

  • Server hardware like CPUs, RAM, and network interface cards (NICs) do not hold sensitive information, so if they are in working order, they can be reused, refurbished, or resold.
  • Networking equipment like switches, routers, and firewalls can be reused in other data centers. Again, these pieces of equipment do not hold onto data, so they can safely be reused without risking your personal information or data. 
  • Power distribution units (PDUs) can be repurposed for other power distribution applications.
  • Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) provide backup power to data centers and can be reused to provide the same type of power to other data centers. 
  • Cooling systems comprised of fans, air conditioners, and chillers can all be used in other cooling systems that may or may not be related to data centers. 
  • Racks and enclosures like server racks, cabinets, and cable management systems can be utilized in a different data center or other IT equipment. 
  • Copper and fiber optic cabling can be installed in other networks or communication installations. 
  • Security systems are transferable to pretty much any other security applications. 

working in a data center

Ensuring data destruction in EOL equipment

Because data centers hold physical versions of data on hard drives, as long as that information is adequately destroyed, your data is secure. Server hardware, networking equipment, and other various pieces of hardware do not hold information, so they do not need to be destroyed in your end-of-life equipment. 

Hard drives and other data-containing storage devices may need to be destroyed rather than reused. Various forms of data destruction services can provide total data erasure. Degaussing can provide magnetic destruction to hard drives, and shredding can provide physical destruction. 

Decommissioned equipment can hold sensitive data, and by working with a professional, like Securis, you can ensure proper recycling and data destruction protocols will be followed for your decommissioning project. If you or your business need a certificate of destruction for auditing purposes, we can provide that. If you need assistance with your data center decommissioning process, contact us here

Why Businesses Need R2 Certified E-Waste Recycling Companies

If your business is looking for an e-waste recycling company, knowing that not all are created equally is essential. The best practice would be to search for an R2 certified company. R2 certified electronics recycling companies need to follow strict guidelines. When a company is not R2 certified, there is a lack of accountability in the recycling process. This third-party certification process covers more than 50 areas of operational and environmental performance. Not only does this ensure e-waste recyclers protect our environment, but it also protects human health and safety. 

What does an R2 certification mean?

Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) established the R2 certification process. Part of SERI’s mission is to minimize the environmental and health risks posed by used and end-of-life electronics. This global certification addresses the entire supply chain and encompasses environmental, health and safety, quality, and data security standards. 

The idea to facilitate a genuinely circular lifecycle for electronics helps extend each device’s life and reuse any and all components, where possible, prior to recycling. Recycling the materials then reduces the need to mine for new materials, allowing the earth to keep those natural resources. 

Finding an R2 certified company

If you’re looking for an R2 certified company, you are in luck! There are nearly 1,000 facilities across 37 counties. Unfortunately, there has been at least one case of a company faking an R2 certification. 

To avoid this mishap, find or even double-check that your e-waste recycling vendor is R2 certified; you can refer to the SERI website. It’s easy to find a company based on region or name!

Why does it matter?

Uncertified recyclers lack accountability. Not only does an R2 certification protect the environment, but it also ensures data protection as well. An R2 certified company ensures that any data that comes via end-of-life technology is appropriately destroyed.

From start to finish, the R2 process takes on the circular economy and the issues many companies face, including environmental, human health, and social welfare impacts. We know how important it is to reuse. However, irresponsible and illegal transfers happen under the guise of reuse. With an R2 certified company, there is no need to worry about careless transfers. 

Responsible recycling is also a vital part of SERI’s mission. Recycling facilities are helping protect human health and the environment by keeping toxic materials out of landfills.

Overall, if a company is R2 certified, you can rest assured that your data and end-of-life technology will be safe in their hands and reach its complete end-of-life potential. As an R2 certified recycler at Securis, we understand how important this is for the global community. Contact us today to learn more. We’d love to help your company do its part in completing the cycle and staying green!

Top 10 E-Waste Recycling Misconceptions

The misconceptions around e-waste recycling can be deterring, but they aren’t the reality. If you have questions about IT equipment recycling, please reach out! We’re here to break these common myths about e-waste recycling!

  1. “E-Waste recycling is expensive.” The truth about recycling is that it can be expensive, but sometimes you might even get paid to recycle! If your e-waste is in good condition, still usable, and you do not need to shred your hard drives, the resale value might surprise you. 
  2. “It’s not secure to recycle electronics.” While this could be the case with some recyclers, by choosing a company that also has data destruction services, there is no need to worry about personal data being accessed. Degaussing and shredding hard drives destroys any personal information that recycled devices contain. 
  3. “E-waste companies outsource the materials, and they still end up in landfills.” While this is true for some e-waste recycling companies, if a company is appropriately vetted and has the proper certifications like an R2 certification then this does not apply.
  4. “It could harm compliance agreements with clients.” When choosing an e-waste recycling company, it’s essential to know how they’ll work with you and what exactly you can guarantee your clients. At Securis, we scan every item collected so you can know what happens with those items from start to finish. We also have a chain of custody protocol to make sure we’re following your personal needs. 
  5. “E-waste recycling is the perfect solution.” While we wish it were the perfect solution, unfortunately, it is only one step in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The first step is a personal choice for both individuals and corporations. It’s important to reduce how often you replace computers, phones, etc. Just because they are outdated does not mean it’s time to upgrade. If there is nothing wrong with your technology, it’s best to keep using it. The next step is to reuse, so if you can buy something you need secondhand or even re-sell a piece of equipment that you’re upgrading, it can help eliminate unnecessary waste. The last step is to recycle. If it’s broken, it’s time to extract the recyclable materials. Unusable e-waste can be used for the materials that make them up, like copper, gold, and other precious metals. 
  6. “Donating and recycling are the same things.” We’ve been taught that donating helps people in need, and while often that is the case, sometimes the donated items just end up in the trash. If your donated computer works, but it’s from 2004, it may not be purchased. Depending on what organization you donate to, items may only sit on a shelf for a certain amount of time before they’re tossed out to make room for other, newer donations. 
  7. “All e-waste recycling companies are the same.” If a company has branded itself as an electronics recycling company, it’s easy to believe that! However, just because they say that doesn’t mean everything will be recycled. It’s essential to thoroughly vet any recycling company prior to trusting them with your electronic waste. 
  8. “It is easy to recycle e-waste.” It may seem easy to throw a computer in a recycling bin; however, at that point, you might as well put electronics in the trash. The recycling process for electronics starts by completely dismantling the equipment. Recycling facilities have the resources to collect metals, plastics, precious metals, and more from electronic devices to get the most out of the equipment.
  9. “E-waste isn’t a big deal.” Unfortunately, e-waste has become a huge international issue. From cell phones to TVs to computers and everything in between, the more technology we use, the more waste is produced.
  10. “It’s a hassle to get rid of e-waste.” When you find the right recycling company, recycling electronics becomes painless for the consumer. The right company will ensure that any personal data is physically destroyed, excess materials aren’t being shipped overseas, and toxic materials stay out of landfills.

If you have further questions about how to keep your end-of-life technology out of landfills, contact us today!