Xperien has warned against fly-by-night uncertified service providers that are taking advantage of unsuspecting customers. The pioneer in the ITAD space has provided a guideline to help companies choose the right ITAD service provider and also a tender outline.

This is a relatively new industry in South Africa with only a handful of accredited service providers. Like many other industries, this industry has its own share of unethical businesses that will try to exploit ignorant customers.

The relentless economic pressure has helped boost the IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) and refurbishing industry as businesses are forced to streamline their IT budgets and become more innovative in their purchasing decisions.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says when appointing an ITAD or recycling service provider, it is critical for companies to adhere to specific guidelines and specifications for the collection, disposal and recycling of their IT assets.

“More importantly, they need to protect personal and company data by providing solutions that comply with the data destruction requirements of PoPI and GDPR. This is especially relevant when recovering value from redundant IT equipment and donating to NPO’s,” he explains.

Technicians must be qualified to dispose of data and there needs to be a secure process that is auditable to ensure that the process has been completed. Certificates need to be issued for all data media destruction.

All data erasure methods must be approved by globally recognised data destruction software (Blancco, Whitecanyon) that is approved by US Department of Defence’s DOD 5220.22-m and Europe’s Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) standards.

The service provider needs to be certified in at least the following:

* ISO 9001: 2015 Quality management

* ISO 14001: 2015 Environmental Management System

* ISO 45001: 2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System

* Waste transporter – hazardous

* E-waste Association of South Africa – code of ethics.

Arewa says companies need to prepare a list of IT assets that need to be collected including asset locations. “They also need to specify whether onsite destruction of data media is required and what equipment must be disposed of with value recovery.”

“They must provide a rate card for IT equipment being disposed, confirm the method of disposing electronic waste and provide an outline of their sustainability strategy,” he adds.

For refurbishing, IT equipment should not be older than 5 years. eWaste to be disposed can include mobile phones, laptops, desktops, monitors & LCD’s, data centres, UPS, projectors, printers and scanners, televisions, IP phones, servers, switches, server racks & cabinets and cables.