Dell means business with e-waste program

Dell Canada has introduced a service that is designed to help Canadian businesses dispose of their outdated computer products in an environmentally responsible manner.

Launched earlier this year, the Asset Recovery Service (ARS) provides businesses, government and large institutions an environmentally safe and secure method to recycle and resell computer equipment.

“In the past, technology was not being disposed by companies. They were holding on to it and didn’t know what to do with it,” said Frank Fuser, director of services for Dell Canada.

When a company uses ARS, Dell will pick up and transport the equipment off site. Its value is then assessed to see if it could be refurbished for resale. If Dell is able to resell the used equipment, a portion of the profit will go to the customer. However, if the computer equipment cannot be resold, Dell will then send it to one of its recycling partners for disposal.

“Our industry plays an important role so that end-of-life electronics don’t end up in the waste stream. ARS is set up where we contractually prohibit our recycling partners from exporting or disposing waste in a non-environmental way,” Fuser said.

The types of computer hardware that ARS handles include servers, notebooks, desktops, storage units and peripherals. In addition, Dell will remove all data on customers’ hard drives as part of the service. Fuser said the computer hardware products don’t have to be Dell branded for companies to utilize ARS.

The cost of ARS is $35 per unit for companies that want to recycle only their own equipment. If a company wants to recover equipment for resale, the cost is $25 a unit.

According to one environmentalist, some companies might be turned off from using ARS if they have to pay for it.

“Businesses are used to not having to pay to dispose of their equipment. They either throw it in the garbage or give it to irresponsible brokers [for disposal],” said Robin Schneider, the vice-chair of the Computer TakeBack Campaign, a non-profit organization in Austin, Tex. that urges companies to dispose of PCs in an environmentally safe way.

“A lot of people haven’t realized that they should be paying money to handle these materials correctly,” she added. Schneider also said that if firms turn over their equipment soon enough, they might share in the profits when it is resold.

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