What vendors need to know about recycling equipment

Jul 5, 2018


Equipment and technology recycling and re-use are becoming increasingly important, as more and more manufacturers, dealers and resellers adopt circular economy principles. Therefore, vendors are becoming increasingly involved in the dismantling of their assets, and separation and disposal of toxic substances and components. However, companies are unsure whether they can execute these practices on their own or if they need expert support.

Recycling directives
Existing regulations and practices for assets that have reached the end of their life are primarily focused on reducing landfill. Three of the EU’s most important recycling directives are:

  1. End of Life (ELV) directive for vehicles,
  2. Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive
  3. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive for e-waste

Recycling by industry
The recycling of IT and medical equipment is better regulated than the recycling of other assets such as cars, tractors or heavy-duty equipment because e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams within the EU, and in many cases, includes hazardous substances. Though raw material scarcity can drive up raw material and scrap prices, many second and third life assets sold in today’s B2B environment have values significantly higher than their raw material or scrap value. On the other hand, in the IT industry, many resellers see scrapping and recycling as a way to take existing volume out of the market and stimulate new asset sales. At the customer’s request, recycling companies can provide a certificate of destruction to prove that the scrapped assets have been taken out of the market.

We always remove toxic toners before sending a copier to our recycling partners. To prevent leakage of toxic materials during transport, but also to be a good corporate citizen."

Practical implications of recycling equipment and technology

  • A hard drive needs to be readily accessible. This makes removal easier, lowering labor costs. And particularly when the machine is handled by a third-party recycling company not specialized in specific asset types, this will also minimize the risk of the hard drive being forgotten.
  • Remanufacturing is gaining popularity but requires organizations to comply with the most recent hazardous substance regulations. Particularly with older equipment that is remanufactured and brought to market with a new serial number, it’s important to be aware that more and more substances are considered “hazardous” and not allowed in such assets.
  • Many manufacturers, dealers and resellers dismantle assets, or parts of assets, before handing the materials on to specialist recycling companies. Particularly in Europe, where recycling regulation is more advanced, to carry out recycling activities you must acquire and maintain various certificates, which costs time, effort and money. 
  • In a circular economy, parts harvesting is key to getting more value out of the technical lifecycle of an asset. It is still unclear, though likely, whether some harvesting activities will be affected by recycling regulation such as WEEE.

Research and insights:
DLL’s newest whitepaper focuses regulations for recycling of assets, as well as data protection and cross-border shipments. The whitepaper examines the impact of compliance on manufacturers, dealers and resellers, making the transition to a circular business model. Get your free copy of the whitepaper now.