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Beware of unethical recyclers

Electronic recycling (eWaste) is growing rapidly and unfortunately, this also means an increase in the number of irresponsible and unethical companies greenwashing themselves as recyclers. Companies must ensure compliance to government guidelines and regulations for managing e-waste and recycling programs.

According to a recent survey, the global electronics recycling market is expected to reach US$65.8 billion by 2026. Significant volumes of electronic waste is largely due to technological advancements that have resulted in shorter replacement cycles.

There are a number of basic requirements and information one should request before partnering with any IT recycling company. An increasing number of government regulations, industry standards and internal risk mitigation policies require organisations to sanitise storage media prior to disposal or reuse.

Before engaging with any recycling company, make sure they are legitimate and certified. Here are some guidelines to ensure compliance.


Considering that the recycling company will be handling many of your data bearing devices, it is critical that they are credible, accredited and certified to do so. Most industries have certifications to help maintain a high level of standards, especially in the electronic recycling and IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) space. Familiar accreditations and certifications include ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 specifically for ITAD.

Recycling companies should also offer data destruction. If they don't have data erasure and destruction procedures in place, rather find a company that does. More importantly, data destruction processes must meet the NIST 800-88, DoD 5220.22-M and CEGS criteria and must adhere to the Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013 (POPIA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

All these standards cover environmental management, occupational and public health and safety, and support the implementation of legal, regulatory and policy frameworks.

ISO 9001 outlines requirements for a quality management system, it applies to any industry and helps companies improve efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Quality management principles that fall under this standard focus on the client, identify inefficiencies, motivate upper management, and help maintain continuous improvement.

Xperien is the only company in Africa to be ISO 9001:2015 certified, it confirms that the company operates a Quality Management System (QMS) that complies with requirements of ISO 9001:2015 for the Collection and Disposal of IT assets and equipment.

Beware of free collections

Totally free of charge always sounds appealing, but it could mean disaster when disposing of redundant IT equipment. Despite the obvious attraction of the free collection, it could be a costly exercise and also result in disaster. Once the equipment is collected, one has no control over where it ends up. It could easily end up in the hands of con merchants like phishing criminals or hackers.


eWaste is often the source of data breaches, so unless the entire recycling process is secure, there is a chance that private information could be stolen or left unprotected. Legitimate recyclers always have clean, secure and highly organised facilities. One should always insist on visiting the facilities and also establish how long the company has been operational. More importantly, request a client list and some references.

Some of the risk of post-disposal data theft can be alleviated by working with a credible, certified and responsible recycler. This means selecting a legitimate recycling company that has data security measures in place and on site. For example, established recyclers offer data erasure services or shredding to ensure that any sensitive information within a device is rendered completely unreadable.

A Certificate of Data Destruction is an assurance that every possible measure was taken to safely and securely eradicate and destroy all data compliant with Government and industry regulations.

Xperien provides absolute data erasure with a 100% tamper-proof audit trail to ensure total compliance. The company has partnered with Blancco, a leading global provider for secure data erasure solutions, to help customers erase data securely across every IT asset.

Each erasure is verified and certified, resulting in a tamper-proof Certificate of Erasure to prove compliance with local, national and global data protection regulations. Blancco’s data erasure solutions have been tested, certified, approved and recommended by 18 governing bodies around the world.

First option: Refurbishing

Many companies are now choosing refurbish over recycle, maximising their profits through green initiatives. The days of simply disposing of old IT equipment are over, the responsible thing today is to implement a sustainable IT program by engaging with a reputable IT asset management company that can provide the effective recovery, reuse and retirement of redundant IT assets.

Refurbishing is a good way to reduce the environmental impact of recycled electronics, keeping them in circulation for as long as possible. Repair must always be the first option, it extends the life of electronics and ultimately optimises the planets resources.

Reputational risk

Old hard drives, backup tapes and flash drives are a major security threat for any business, they store a massive amount of confidential data that can easily be compromised. Stolen data can permanently damage a company's reputation and can create a whirlwind of legal and financial problems. Some businesses never fully recover from a corporate data breach because of the punishing costs and destruction of the brand.

Join the Circular Economy - Reducing the global e-waste problem and optimising the lifecycle of IT hardware.

Xperien (Pty) Ltd is a leading South African IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) company. We are a passionate team of professionals who care about our planet, its people and its resources. From humble beginnings 21 years ago as a used computer dealer, we strive to make our contribution by redefining the way corporations use IT hardware. We provide our clients with secure ITAD services and have obtained ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 accreditations specifically for ITAD.

Our value proposition is to protect our clients’ personal information and intellectual property that resides on their computers during technology changes and at end-of-service. We manage our client’s enterprise and desktop infrastructure in a sustainable manner - across the globe. Logistical solutions are tailored to cater for our clients’ geographical spread and to negate the ever-present risk of hard-drive theft from dispositioned computers.

Xperien provides cost-effective solutions to combat the challenges associated with data loss and to mitigate reputational risk. Our compliance meets the NIST 800-88, DoD 5220.22-M and CEGS criteria, particularly in terms of data-destruction processes, while adherence to the Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013 (POPIA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is core to our business.

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