E is for Earth Day, E-waste and Education
The events of Earth Day have wrapped up – the trucks have been loaded, the trees have been planted, and the e-waste is being recycled, our survey is closed, and the results are in! It is clear that while there is an awareness of the issues with e-waste, I believe that more education is still required.
As my colleague Bart Porter discussed in his survey results blog, Redemtech’s Earth Day Survey Reveals Awareness of E-waste Crisis, the good news is that the majority of those responding to our survey are aware of the e-waste crisis. However, just because they are aware of it – did not necessarily mean that the organizations that they work for or the practices that they adhered to were in alignment for the elimination of the e-waste.
An example of the need for more education are the responses around organizational policy that indicated 22.6% said no, and 9.7% said they didn’t know if the company they worked for had a policy.
All responsible organizations need to have IT Asset Management technology management policies in place to address end-of-life disposition. These policies should require the use of certified e-waste recyclers that provide documented evidence of the proper handling of their retired technology. This evidence should not only cover the recycling results of the technology – but in the case of data bearing technology, proof of data eradication should also be included in those end-of-life requirements.
Another interesting correlation that is not immediately evident in the responses – but when combined with the information I have been gathering from our customers over the last several months – calls out an area of concern. BYOD. According to our results, 77.4% of respondents said that they used a personally owned tablet device at their workplace, yet a very small percentage of our customers are knowingly allowing employee owned devices in the workplace. This begs the question – are employees bringing their own devices into the workplace in absence of policy or in spite of policy? The positive to this however, is that of all those using their own devices in the work place – they recognize the importance of data protection. There were zero responses that indicated that getting rid of the data was “someone else’s problem.”
A gap in security remains due to fact that more than half of the respondents who bring their own devices to the workplace wait for a recycling event to disposition their old technology. This delay has a higher potential to result in a data breach. This suggests that companies who do allow employee owned devices in the workplace need to also offer the services to eradicate the data and properly recycle that same technology.
It was a bit disappointing to see the low participation in the area of donating used technology. With the speed at which technology continues to advance – and the continuous manufacturer and consumption of all things new and shiny – there are still a lot of folks out there that wish they had access to any technology – old or new. There are so many programs available and outlets to extend the life of technology. Habitat for Humanity, TechSoup Global, Connect2Compete, and the list continues – why wouldn’t more people be willing to donate? I think they would – if it was convenient and they understood the programs and the processes. I believe that awareness and education could move that needle.
My last take away is related to certified recyclers. Individuals and organizations alike need to be sure that they are using certified recyclers; those who are committed to the environment. There are many recyclers out there today who claim to be doing the right thing – but are more concerned about making money, than doing things right. Don’t be duped, educate yourself!!