Data Erasure – a silver bullet to bring down e-waste

Electronic waste (or e-waste) is a growing menace to the environment and ecosystem, with hazardous effects on air, water, and soil quality. E-waste also poses significant health risks to the people employed in e-waste dismantling and processing facilities. This has been a common agenda item thrown around and debated on discussion forums (year round), while another World Environment Day comes knocking on the door.

So, let’s take a look at some hard reality via the following statistics that shed light on the e-waste matter and help shape a concrete perspective on its implications.

The Global E-Waste Monitor report informs that global yearly e-waste generation is expected to cross 50 Million Mt by 2020, with an annual growth rate of 3–4%. In a per capita viewpoint, e-waste generation per inhabitant would reach around 7kg per person by 2020. What’s even more startling is the dismal state of formal e-waste management processes and policies— the report apprises that 76% of the global e-waste had remained undocumented in 2016, meaning, it was likely dumped, traded or recycled under inferior conditions!

So, obviously, e-waste today stands as a critical challenge for societies, businesses, and policymakers, which is growing by the day.

The following initiatives – as part of the overarching e-waste management strategy – can help contain (and possibly diminish) the problem of e-waste:

1. Reduce e-waste generation:

Individuals and organizations can help reduce e-waste generation by choosing to reuse their legacy devices (largely IT equipment) by way of – exchange, resell, donation, reallocation, etc. – instead of dumping them as e-waste.

2. Improve e-waste management:

Drawing and implementing a stronger policy framework can help drive a more effective management of e-waste, especially in the developing regions/countries of the world. This largely includes safe e-waste processing and disposal practices, transboundary movement of e-waste, accountability across the chain of e-waste custody, trace back mechanisms, and documenting e-waste, etc.

The rapid pace of e-waste generation can be arrested at the consumption level itself, provided individual users and organizations adopt a ‘reuse more’ mindset with regard to usage of electronic devices.

The following are a few scenarios that contribute to e-waste generation at the consumption level—

  • Organizations handover their old devices for shredding/degaussing and disposal with e-waste recyclers.
  • Users may indiscreetly throw away or dump their old smartphones and laptops with e-scrap dealers.
  • Organizations may dispose of legacy equipment, without a policy framework from e-waste standpoint.

The number of instances for such e-waste generation scenarios can be reduced by provisioning a mechanism that could allow to reuse the devices.

Data erasure software enables this mechanism— it securely erases storage media such as hard drives, PCs, solid state drives, servers and rack-mounted devices. The erased devices can be reused by way of – exchange, resell, donation, reallocation, etc., without being necessarily pushed into the e-waste generation stream.

Data erasure software such as BitRaser offer great utility and convenience for erasing storage media, with an assurance that the erased media is safe for reuse, exchange, donation etc. without any risk of data leakage.

The following are a few key reasons as to how BitRaser can help curtail the problem of indiscreet e-waste generation:

  • It erases a vast majority of storage devices including hard drives, SSDs, servers, and rack-mounted devices. BitRaser – along with its specialized variants for mobile and file erasure – covers virtually the entire mainstream storage media lineup. Meaning, it can save more number and variety of devices from being turning out as e-waste, and thus helps release them into the secondary market.
  • BitRaser is a certified data erasure software, which provides tamper-proof reports for audit trails to help businesses attain compliance with data protection regulations such as SOX, GLB, HIPAA, ISO27001, EU-GDPR, and PCI-DSS. By following international data erasure standards, it assures the primary owners that the erased media is ready for reuse, without any risks of data leakage or misuse. So, used devices can be reallocated, resold or put through other secondary transactions instead of being dumped out as e-waste.

Conclusion

E-waste management is a critical need facing the world today; the stakes for failure or mismanagement concerning e-waste are high, with severe implications. The phenomenal pace at which e-waste is being generated, lack of secure disposal policy framework, and indifference of users towards their individual responsibilities is leading to a dangerous situation.

Exploring reuse possibilities for electronics items and effective e-waste management can help contain this e-waste problem, if done rigorously in the long run. Data erasure software such as BitRaser could be a great enabler to realize the possibility of reusing storage media such as hard drives, PCs, and servers etc.

Adoption of certified data erasure software not only allows reuse of devices – and thereby cut down e-waste generation – but also puts to rest the worries concerning breach of residual data from used devices.

It’s time to understand and act upon your collective responsibility to manage the electronics we use and our e-waste footprint. Adopting data erasure tool can prove to be a decisive step in this direction. It’s your call!

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