Australia’s Department of Defence has carried out Australia’s largest ever data sanitisation project, paving the way for industries worldwide.
Over 200,000 electronic devices have been recycled by electronic life-cycle management company Greenbox, with 110,000 mobile and desktop computers replaced in the department’s largest ever infrastructure overhaul. A further 90,000 devices were also disposed of, including monitors, printers and servers.
Greenbox provides end-to-end asset management for electronic devices across a range of sectors; banking, healthcare, education and government. These industries all use electronic devices to handle and store sensitive data, and therefore the correct disposal process is essential.
Across their four sites, Greenbox have sanitised each device to ensure that no data remains. The purpose-built centres can carry out up to 800 device wipes simultaneously per site, greatly reducing the time it would take to process the required volume of devices.
Each year, around 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is created. This is equivalent to a weight greater than that of all commercial airliners ever built, and has a value of 62.5 billion USD. However, less than 20% is formally recycled, leaving the remainder to be disposed of in, almost always, a manner which is not environmentally friendly.
Because of this, a number of UN agencies are working together to promote a ‘circular economy’, where products are designed with fewer waste parts, the environmental impact is reduced, and stable work is created for millions around the world in the disposal stages.
The E-waste Coalition brings together seven United Nations organisations to implement considerable work towards the goals of reducing electronic waste. For example, there has been recently been a 13 million US dollar investment to start the formal e-waste industry in Nigeria, in addition to private funding. Estimates predict that there are up to 100,000 Nigerians working in an informal e-waste disposal environment, and so this funding will ensure that they are formally employed as well as reducing the environmental impact of this waste.
Electrical waste in the UK can almost always be recycled. You can easily locate your closest recycling point for specific waste on the Recycle Now website. At some of these centres, there will be an allocated disposal point for electrical items. Check the signage, though, to ensure that your waste is in the correct area. Batteries can also be recycled at these locations, as well as in other public places, like libraries and supermarkets.
Retailers who sell electronic products have a responsibility to provide arrangements to recycle old machines if they sell a newer version or a replacement. Therefore, when buying a new device, check with the retailer to see their recycling policies.