Not all recyclers are equal. Some electronic recyclers promise to do everything their competition does. Some may even recycle your equipment for free or offer money back. If they do charge, fees vary widely. They will claim that they recoup their costs entirely by reselling the scraps. But it’s only computers (including laptops and network gear) that have scrap value – everything else is a cost. So they’ll give you a few “pennies on the pound” for recycling your computers to make you feel valued.

Most no-cost, value-back services are more likely to cut “recycling” corners.

Or worse — they sell your equipment intact with your data still residing on the drives. These electronic recyclers are focused on the here and now: how much e-waste does your company have right now and what kind of e-waste is it? All they care about is the money they will make off of your computers today. They aren’t looking to create an ongoing relationship. Although customers may go with the more cost-efficient service, they aren’t receiving the greatest value or experience. Tell them you have a bunch of monitors and printers, with no computers, and watch their pricing change – if they’re willing to work with you at all.

Businesses should look for a partner who sees value past the computers you have for them today in order to build a long-term relationship. Do they understand your business needs and priorities? Do they take data security seriously or is it just lip service. Do they provide adequate documentation and reporting? Do they provide the level of communication and customer service you require? Since they’re coming to your place of business, are they respectful of your office and co-workers?

Independent Certification

Before you make that relationship, there is one more incredibly important thing to look for. You need an ethical and responsible organization who carries the certifications to prove it. The recycling industry has two certifications – R2 and e-Stewards (we recommend going with e-Stewards, if possible). These independently audited certifications are the only way to get an objective view of how a recycler conducts it’s business.

Beyond certification, a real ideal partner will take all of the necessary steps to ensure that all of your businesses’ data is completely removed from your retiring equipment. A real partner will go past E-waste recycling and data destruction and into a total IT portfolio management solution (4th Bin happens to have one). The right partner will provide the tools you need to maximize the value of your equipment and ensure you are managing your IT equipment in a sustainable manner. They’ll help you plan for the future, not just deal with today’s problem.

Strive to go beyond e-waste – beyond the bin – one service at a time.