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How to manage and dispose of your old server

A total of 57.4 tonnes of e-scrap was generated worldwide last year. This is growing by around 2 tonnes per annum. The top three biggest e-scrap generators are China, the US and India. Meanwhile, the e-scrap recycling market is worth an estimated US$ 50 billion.

There is said to be almost 450 tonnes of unrecycled discarded electronics out there. This is in large part due to the fact that only about 17.5% of total e-scrap is processed correctly. Frontrunners in the e-cycling arena are the Norway, Iceland and Estonia.

When dedicated servers are no longer needed, it’s important to properly decommission them and dispose of the hardware. Here are some tips on how to do that in a way that minimises the environmental impact.

Data destruction

Before you do anything else, it’s critical to erase all data from the server’s hard drives. This will ensure that sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands and that any software licenses are properly retired. There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to use a data destruction service. These services can physically destroy the hard drives, making data recovery nearly impossible.

Donate or refurbish

If the server is still in good working condition, you may be able to donate it to a charity or non-profit organization. Many of these groups can put the server to good use, and you may be able to take a tax deduction for the value of the donation. You can also recycle the server’s components, or sell the entire unit to a company that specialises in refurbishing and reselling used servers.

Contact a professional

If you’re not sure how to properly decommission or dispose of your dedicated server, contact a local management company. Industry professionals can give can help guide you to the right place and can give you tips on how to transport your electronics. For example, an upcoming recycling drive or permanent drop-off point could be an attractive option.

Check with your manufacturer

Some server manufacturers offer take-back or trade-in programmes for old servers. This is often the easiest way to dispose of a server, and you may be able to receive a discount on a new server in the process.

Use a certified electronics recycler

When you’re ready to dispose of your server, be sure to use a certified e-scrap recycler. These companies are specially trained and equipped to handle electronic waste, and will ensure that your server is properly dismantled and recycled.

Recycling is the best way to ensure that your old server doesn’t end up in a landfill. And by using a certified recycler, you can be sure that the process is done in an environmentally responsible way.

Other tips on sustainable living >>

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