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IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Adrian Bridgwater, Elizabeth White

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IT Hardware Recycling Remains an Orphaned Function in Most Enterprises, Says IDC

A great number of U.S. businesses continue to struggle with implementing best practices in the recycling of their IT hardware and electronics equipment. The IT hardware disposition function remains undefined among many organizations, an "orphaned" function that is neither the full responsibility of IT departments nor procurement or other related functions.

A new multi-client study from International Data Corporation (IDC), IT Asset Disposal and Recycling: United States Enterprise Practices and Outlook 2012-2013, finds that more than one third of the companies recently surveyed do not use proper disposition methods, often adding unjustified cost and complexity to their hardware recycling practices. The use of irrational disposition processes remains high. For instance, the use of company staff to manage donation to charity, adding to cost, risks, and loss of resale opportunity, is practiced by more than 40% of the organizations surveyed. Likewise, the practice of storing assets is alarmingly high as is the use of municipal waste services, which leave companies at legal risk of violating U.S. environmental regulations and preventing them from finding cost containment opportunities through resale and other solutions.

For organizations attempting to incorporate best practices, their IT asset disposal priorities focus on compliance related to data security, followed by the implementation of strategies to contain cost and safeguard business continuity. "Currently, we are witnessing less focus on environmental issues than in the past," says David Daoud, research director, Personal Computing and Green IT at IDC and author of the study. "The environment was one of the top two concerns from 2003 to 2008 driven by the Green IT debate, but then the 2008 financial crisis forced a change in mindset. The regulatory context has not evolved sufficiently since 2008 to maintain that environmental momentum and attention has shifted to other types of compliance, such as data security, as well as insuring that recycling is done properly."

IDC's research confirms that PC OEMS, headed by Dell and HP, as well as IT vendor IBM, have substantial mindshare among U.S. companies as hardware disposition providers when it comes to PC clients, phones, and data centers. However, these companies face formidable competitors, including Arrow Electronics’s group of companies, Redemtech, and others, who have broadened their customer base over the past several years.

In terms of outlook, IDC sees a number of trends that are likely to influence IT hardware disposition practices over the next few years, further impacting the industry itself. Among the trends to watch are the movement toward cloud computing that could lead to lower procurement of classic assets, as well as the emergence of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which will create a whole new set of challenges on the data security and compliance front.

For more details on this multiclient study, please contact David Daoud at or at 508-988-7502.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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