At some point, every one of your IT assets will need to be disposed of and replaced with a newer, more efficient model. However, disposing of these assets is not as simple as tossing them in the trash as you would with other types of waste. IT asset disposition is much more complicated, and most companies do not have the resources to handle this process without help from a third party vendor. Here’s why it’s never a good idea to try to dispose of IT assets on your own:

Environmental Hazards

Electronic devices contain a number of hazardous substances, including lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, copper, barium, chromium, and nickel. E-waste cannot be sent to landfills or these chemicals may eventually leak out of the devices and contaminate the atmosphere and local water supply, thus harming anyone who lives in the area. The presence of these chemicals is one of the reason why disposing of IT assets is so challenging. In order to prevent these chemicals from contaminating the environment or harming the people who are exposed to the assets, the devices must be disposed of in a facility that is specifically designed for e-waste processing.

Before you decide to dispose of IT assets on your own, ask yourself if you have the resources to handle toxic chemicals. Do you know how to prevent releasing these substances into the environment? Probably not—but a qualified e-waste recycler does, which is why you should leave this task to the professionals.

Data Destruction

Disposing of your IT assets also involves destroying any data that remains on these devices. This can include customer contact information, credit card numbers, health records, and trade secrets, among many other types of confidential data. If any of this information is mishandled during IT asset disposition, it could affect your business’s reputation and lead to lawsuits and substantial fines.

Destroying data is much harder than it may seem—simply wiping the data on your hard drives is not enough to protect your business’s data. It’s possible that the data on your devices can be breached if there is any trace of encrypted data left behind. Instead of trying to figure out how to clear data off of your devices, let an experienced e-waste recycler handle this as well. At ERI, all data is destroyed in accordance with the NIST 800-88r1 Guidelines for Media Sanitization, so you don’t have to worry about sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. If you want to protect your business—and more importantly, your customers—don’t attempt to destroy data without a third party’s help.


Properly disposing of IT assets is a time-consuming process that must be handled by trustworthy, knowledgeable employees. If you choose to dispose of assets internally instead of hiring a third party, this task may be assigned to members of your IT team seeing as how they are the most knowledgeable. However, this is one of many tasks that your IT team is responsible for completing, so it may not get the time and attention that it deserves. IT teams typically have a lot on their plates and must be available to immediately respond to pressing issues. As a result, they may skip over important steps in the process of disposing of IT assets in order to get the job done quicker.

Disposing of IT assets is not a job that should be taken lightly. If it’s not done correctly by your IT team, not only will your customer data be unprotected, but it could also lead to costly fines. There are countless state and federal regulations that businesses must follow when disposing of IT assets. If you are found to be in violation of any of these regulations, your business may be penalized with a substantial fine. Instead of asking your IT team to take on more responsibility, let a team of professionals who specialize in IT asset disposition handle your e-waste.

Tracking Assets

Every IT asset should be tracked from the moment that it is purchased until it has been disposed of in a responsible manner. Losing even one asset can result in a huge security issue where personal information is made public. However, it can be difficult for IT teams to keep track of assets during the disposal process without a formal tracking system. In fact, one study found that four out of five corporate asset disposal projects reported at least one missing asset.

How can you avoid this problem? By working with a third party for IT asset disposition. At ERI, we use the Optech™ system to help clients track every single asset that arrives at our facility. Clients can log into the system at any time to track their assets, and can even pull reports that confirm the receipt of materials from the collection site, the recycling of the materials, and the destruction of the data. This system allows clients to keep a close eye on how their assets are handled within our facility so they can rest assured knowing their customers’ information is safe.

If your company does not currently have a formal tracking system in place similar to Optech™, it’s likely that assets could be misplaced or stolen during the disposal process.

Now that you know why you should never handle IT asset disposition on your own, it’s time to get in touch with the professionals to discuss your needs. ERI is the largest electronic waste recycler in the U.S., responsible for recycling over 250 million pounds of electronic waste every year. All of ERI’s facilities have received R2 and e-Stewards certification, the two most prestigious certifications with the e-waste industry. For more information on recycling electronics, or to request a quote, contact us today.