There’s Gold In Them There Electronics!

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Ok so the classic gold rush of California in the 1840’s and 1850’s may be long gone, but there is still a great need for gold today. Not only is it used for making jewellery, but gold is also a vital component in the creation of most electronics.

As gold is both a highly efficient conductor and does not tarnish or corrode, it is one of the few metals that could cope with the very low voltages that are used in electronics (so low that they could be easily interrupted by even the smallest amounts of corrosion). Therefore electronics that are made using gold are highly reliable and are now the norm in the manufacture of most electronics including computers, mobile phones, servers and many other pieces of electronic equipment.

However it is currently estimated that there is only 190,000 tons of gold left to be mined from the earth’s crust, and with current mining levels thought to be between 2,000-3,000 tons per year this means that gold is becoming an increasingly rare commodity.

But there is another plentiful source of gold. It is estimated that there is nearly 80 times as much gold in 1 ton of mobile phones alone as in an average gold mine, and that’s not to mention the amount that is held in other types of waste electronics. However it is thought that currently only 10%-15% of the gold that is held in unused or waste electronics is ever recovered, the rest either ending up in landfill or simply being left in cupboards and drawers.

The most startling fact is that there are some recycling techniques that are able to recover up to 95% of the gold used in an electronic device. The two main techniques used to recover gold from electronics are; pyrometallurgy, which burns the gold off at high temperatures, or hydrometallurgy, which uses a mix of chemicals to dissolve the gold. Admittedly some of these techniques can have negative environmental impacts of their own, but new techniques are being developed (one using acetic acid, which is found in regular table vinegar) which are much less harmful and in fact even cheaper.

However it is important to highlight that in some countries recycling processes are much less highly regulated and result in dangerous and toxic methods being used, exploiting cheap labour and often only resulting in at best 50% of the gold found in electronic items being recovered.

Therefore if you have any old, unused or unwanted electronics it is important that you not only recycle them, but recycle them correctly.

Buy IT Back specialise in recycling (or even better refurbishing and rehoming) your old computers, printers, servers and other IT and telecoms equipment. We then commit to treating them with the highest environmental standards, using cutting edge techniques to effectively and environmentally consciously recover all of their reusable components. And what’s even better – we can even pay you for doing so!

As we only actually strip down and mineral recover electronics as a last resort we are able to refurbish, recondition and resell most equipment (or the components thereof). This not only means even less waste and less energy used in the recycling process, but that we are able to pass some of the revenue that comes from the sales of refurbished items or components on to you!

So to find out more about how you can effectively, efficiently and environmentally consciously get rid of your unwanted electronics contact Buy IT Back today.

Recycle Your Old Electronics To Save Rare Metals

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We recently told you about Coltan, a mineral that you’ve probably never heard of but that is incredibly important in to production of electronics, and is becoming in shorter and shorter supply.

However Coltan (and the Tantalum that is extracted from it) is not the only rare element that is relied upon for the production of even the most everyday electronics. 

Indium is among the rarest elements on earth, accounting for less than 0.00001% of the earth’s crust. However as it is both electrically conductive and transparent it is of vital importance in the production of LCD screens among other things. However this scarcity, along with its increasing demand has lead it to be categorised as a ‘critical metal’. 

One of the main reasons for this categorisation is that Indium is mined almost exclusively in China, meaning that there is a risk of monopolisation and supply chain disruptions. But there is also the real possibility that Indium could be extinct as a minable metal within the next 10 years. All of which combined have seen the price of Indium shoot up from around US $100 per kilogram to nearly $1000 in the past six years.

So what can we do to lessen our reliance on newly mined Indium in the future?

The first and most sensible answer is obviously to recycle any unwanted electronics that could contain Indium, to recover this and allow it to be reused in new devices. However the startling fact is that the second largest supply of Indium, after that this is already locked up in devices, is found in slag from waste incineration plants – and is therefore lost for possible recovery. This is a simple result of IT, telecoms and other electronic devices being simply sent for incineration, rather then being properly treated and recycled.

There are of course numerous research projects looking into more sustainable replacements for Indium in electronics, however there is a genuine worry as to whether any of these will be ready and accepted into the mass electronics market before the remaining stores of mineable Indium run out.

So with this knowledge it seems unbelievable that anyone would consider not correctly recycling their unused or unwanted electronics. However the truth is that many companies and organisations still do not, with a common blocker being the perceived price of commercial recycling services.

However here at Buy IT Back we are able to offer a buy back scheme for your unwanted electronics which will actually pay you to take your old IT, telecoms and other equipment off your hands. We are then able to either recondition and resell your equipment or correctly strip down and recycle the various components and elements so that none of the precious and critical metals go to waste.

To find out more, contact Buy IT Back today.

Coltan – The Most Important Mineral You’ve Never Heard Of

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Ok, so it might not be the most important mineral that you’ve never heard of, but coltan is actually a really important (and diminishing) natural resource. So what is coltan, why is it so important, and why on earth are we telling you about this on a computer recycling blog?

Coltan is a metallic ore composed of niobium and tantalum. Once extracted coltan is refined into metallic tantalum, a little known but vital element which has unique capacitor properties. It is these capacitor properties that are vital for the functioning of computers, smart phones and basically anything that has a micro-electrical circuit.

However there are a number of issues with coltan which means that recycling the existing tantalum that is found in unwanted or outdated IT and electronic devices is incredibly important.

  1. Coltan is a finite natural resource, meaning that there is only a certain amount of it available on earth, and when it’s gone it’s gone. Although there is the possibility of finding new ways of manufacturing electronics without tantalum, this is currently a long way off and there is a real possibility of us running out of coltan before then.
  2. Coltan is found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia and a few other very limited areas of the world, with the highest concentrations being in DRC. However the exploitation of coltan in the DRC has caused an environmental crisis. Mining severely affects the natural environment resulting in the destruction of the habitat of many endangered species including Grauer’s gorilla, the eastern chimpanzee, and the forest elephant.
  3. One of the methods of coltan extraction is vis pit-mining, a practice which involves digging large and deep wells in which the earth is removed and sluiced to extract the ore. In areas such as DRC this practice is often badly managed and unregulated by health and safety legislation, resulting in extremely hazardous working conditions.
  4. Once the coltan ore is extracted, there is then a complex and time consuming process required to extract the tantalum. However there are now becoming less and less areas where the coltan ore contains high enough percentages of tantalum to make this process financially viable.

However, if all of the tantalum that is currently being held in unwanted and disused electronics were to be recycled the need for newly mined coltan would be significantly decreased. So if you have any old or outdated IT, telecoms or other electronic equipment it is incredibly important that you ensure that it is either recycled or reused.

Buy IT Back is a specialist computer recycling company that offers a ‘buy back’ scheme for all of your unwanted electronics. This means that they will pay you to take away all of your old equipment which will then be refurbished if at all possible and sold on, or will be expertly stripped down into its component parts which will then be independently recycled and reused. To find out more contact Buy IT back today.

Can I Get Rid Of My Old Electronic Equipment At The Local Tip?

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A recent report has shown that more and more small businesses and other organisations are mistakenly turning to their local Household Waste and Recycling Centre (known to most of us as ‘the tip’) to get rid of their unwanted electronic and IT equipment.

Whereas your local HWRC (aka tip) will happily accept unwanted electronics from domestic households for recycling, they will not take car loads of old computers, servers, printers and other electronics if they can be classed as commercial. This would include small businesses, schools and any other non-domestic organisations. If caught trying to dispose of unwanted electronics at your local HWRC it is likely that you will be refused access and could also even be fined.

So what should you do if you have any old IT equipment that you no longer need, even if you are only a small business or other organisation?

The answer lies in contacting a reputable computer and IT recycling firm. Companies such as Buy IT Back will work with you to safely and legally dispose of your old computers and electronic equipment to the highest possible environmental standards. Reputable firms which have a proven track record in business, will fully understand the legal framework and environmental responsibility which governs how waste electronics should be treated and will work within these.

However there can be one drawback with using many of these firms – the cost. There are a number of companies that will provide a great service collecting and disposing of your old IT equipment, but you could end up being charged handsomely for their doing so. However there is an alternative.

Buy IT Back has not only been at the forefront of computer recycling in the UK for nearly 30 years, but is also able to offer a ‘buy back’ scheme, which actually pays you for the pleasure of removing, refurbishing or recycling your unwanted IT, telecoms and other electronic equipment.

So why not cut out the hassle of trying to take your old computers to the tip, or the pain of having to pay a company to recycle them for you and contact Buy IT Back today.

Is It Time To Upgrade Your HDD Storage Array?

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As with so many things in the fast moving world of technology and electronics the next big thing is always just around the corner. But if you are currently working with a HDD storage array, it might already be here.

SSD (solid state drive) storage arrays are the not-so-new kid on the block and are proving to be a popular choice for many organisations’ data storage needs. So what’s the difference between HDD (hard disk drive) and SDD?

HDD storage relies on spinning disks, motors, and read/write heads, using magnetism to store data on a rotating platter, whereas SSD has no moving parts using semiconductor technology that writes and reads data by electrically charging a stationary strip of dense circuitry – but why is this necessarily better?

SSD Pros

  • SSD storage arrays are significantly faster than HDD’s as they are not limited by the physical speed that the HDD disks can spin.
  • SSD’s tend to have much higher storage capacities, which is vital in today’s data heavy world.
  • SSD’s can support more sophisticated encryption programs which inevitably have put a much heavier load on CPU resources.
  • SSD’s are ideal for high performance processing, being able to quickly and effectively cope with the most complex processing loads. Results include quicker boot times and a quicker and more responsive operation.
  • SSD’s use less electricity than HDD’s and run cooler, which is not only more environmentally friendly but also helps to reduce potential data loss issues from overheating.
  • SSD’s are silent so no more irritating whirring noises!

HDD Pro’s

  • Price – HDD’s are generally cheaper than SSD’s, however it really is a case of you get what you pay for.

So what should you do if you are currently working with an out of date HDD storage array?

  1. Look into upgrading to a SSD system! There are lots of companies out there who can supply fantastic SSD systems and also oversee the transferral of your data. So get Googling and start asking a few questions
  2. Figure out what to do with your old HDD system. As with most outdated technology your options are somewhat limited and disposal can be a costly business, as there are strict regulations governing the scrapping of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE Regulations). However Buy IT Back is here to help!

Buy IT Back is a specialist computer and electronics recycling service. With almost 30 years experience in the industry we have the ability, contacts and knowledge to effectively and environmentally sensitively deal with your unwanted IT, telecoms and other electronic equipment. And what’s more, we offer a Buy Back service which can even pay you for the pleasure of doing so! After securely destroying any remaining data we are able to recondition and often upgrade your old equipment reselling it start-ups, charities and other organisations. And if there are any items that we cannot resell we are able to break it down into its component parts and effectively recycle these.

To find out more about Buy IT Back’s HDD storage array recycling service, contact us today.

What Should You Do With Your Old Apple Tech?

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Knowing how to dispose of any old tech or electronic equipment is tricky. With the ever increasing speed that tech goes out of date and the average shelf life for a mobile phone being 2 years at the most, finding an environmentally sound disposal method can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Take the iPod for example. Once upon a time these were the must have bit of kit. Gone were the days of walkmans and spending hours downloading CD’s onto a clunky mp3 player. Now you had a sleek and shiny little device that went everywhere with you, the revolving selection button allowing you to whizz through all of your music in seconds. 

But then came the rise of the smartphone (do you remember the excitement when the first iPhone came out?!) and down went the popularity of the iPod. And then in 2017 Apple stopped making iPods all together. So what should you do with your old Apple tech, especially iPods?

There are plenty of articles online coming up with all sorts of ideas for ways to keep your iPod in use. How about… 

  • Using it as a dedicated music repository for your car? Obviously this won’t work for any music that you stream but you’ll be able to listen to your old downloaded music to your heart’s content without having to go through the bother of plugging in your phone. But really, how difficult is it just to bluetooth music from your phone?
  • If you have an old iPod touch you can use it as a video baby monitor or home surveillance camera. Plug it into a dock and a simple app will allow you to use it for this.
  • Enable disk mode and use it a portable hard drive. Or you could just get a 10 bizillion Gb pen drive and use that!

But really, we know that these ideas are pretty tenuous and the likelihood of you actually using them is fairly remote. So what should you do with your old Apple tech, whether it’s an iPod, iPad or Macbook?

Here at Buy IT Back we are specialists in recycling Apple equipment, especially when working in bulk with businesses or other organisations. In many cases we are able to recondition and resell Apple equipment to charities, start-ups or businesses in economically developing nations. And if for any reason we are unable to repurpose your unwanted Apple technology, we work with specialist recycling companies who are able to strip each piece of equipment down to its component parts and recycle these separately to the highest possible environmental standards.

And the best thing… we can pay you for the pleasure of doing so! So if you are a business looking to find a responsible yet profitable way to get rid of your old Apple tech, contact Buy IT Back today.

Are Your Employees The Biggest Data Threat To Your Business?

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With the increasing prevalence of high profile data leaks, many businesses are becoming more and more conscious of the importance of data security to both the operation and reputation of their business.

Many people will assume that the most likely threat will come from super technologically advanced external hackers, who are accessing your information from the comfort of their secret location (bedroom?!), and are motivated by either a desire to expose your companies most confidential information, or with blackmail in mind.

However the majority of company directors will actually say that it is their employees that pose the greatest threat to their data security. Whether it be disgruntled employees trying to get their own back on the company, or simple human error (by far the most common of the two options), it is those who are actually supposed to have access to sensitive information that are the most likely to be the source of a leak.

So what are some of the steps that you can take to protect your company from the extremely negative consequences of a data leak?

Set rigorous protocols

The vast majority of employee based data leaks come from simple human error. So to avoid this ensure that you have simple yet stringent procedures and protocols in place and ensure that people stick to them – often simple systems such as getting someone else to do a final check can catch any mistakes before they happen.

Ensure that you data is fully encrypted

There are many systems out there these days that can very sophistically encrypt data to ensure that even if it can be accessed it can’t actually be read. Also think about taking steps such as regularly changing passwords of using two-step authentication processes when people are logging into data.

Don’t forget data destruction

It can be easy to spend all of your time thinking about how to protect the data that your company holds whilst you are using it, however a vital consideration is what happens to data once you no longer need it, or once the hardware that you are storing it on is ready for an upgrade?

In the latter case engaging the services of a specialist computer recycling and data destruction company is paramount. Companies such as Buy IT Back can take your old computers, servers and other IT and telecoms equipment and using government certified data destruction software, completely eradicate any remaining data, before then reconditioning either the whole unit or it’s component parts to be sold on, or recycling any other parts to the highest environmental standards. And the best thing – they can actually pay you for doing this!

To find out more contact Buy IT Back today.

IT Recycling – The Golden Rules

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There are many great things about the world in 2019, but one of the real social changes that seems to be afoot is people’s rising awareness of global environmental issues. Ever since David Attenborough highlighted the amount of plastics in our seas and the effects of climate change becoming ever more apparent, there has been a real step change in people’s attitude towards environmental conservatism.

Looking after the environment no longer just means separating our household recycling, but also looking at the bigger picture in terms of energy consumption, and especially looking towards businesses and other large organisations to do their bit.

So when it comes to having to get rid of old or unwanted computer, IT and other electronic equipment, recycling or other means of environmentally conscious disposal are the natural choice. But just how easy it is to do this – and to really make sure that your actions are making the difference that they are supposed to be doing?

Thankfully there are lots of computer recycling companies out there who will offer to take the hard work out of computer recycling for you, but as with so many things in life, things are not always what they seem.

So what are some of the golden rules when thinking about computer recycling?

Find out who you are really working with

This may sound obvious but doing a little homework into your chosen company can make a huge difference in the long run. We recommend looking for a company that has a proven track record in the industry, as this can give them many more options for refurbishment and resale which is more beneficial to both the environment and your wallet than straight recycling.

You also want to be sure that they have exceptional data erasure powers, as data security should be at the utmost of your mind when thinking about getting rid of any IT and telecoms equipment.

If it seems too good to be true….

You know what comes next – it probably is. Many computer recycling companies out there will make unrealistic claims about the amount and type of electronic equipment that they can recycle. Some newer companies may not have the necessary experience to work within the complex regulations and permits required for the disposal of electronic equipment, and could just end up illegally dumping your old equipment, or transporting it to other countries that have less stringent recycling regulations.

Make it official

As a successful business or organisation, it is likely that you will need to upgrade to new equipment and dispose of old equipment more than once. So when you have found a company that you trust why not draw up a formal contract so that they can handle any future recycling needs quickly and seamlessly.

Get paid!

Although there are many companies out there that will tick all of the above boxes, it is likely that they will be charging you for the pleasure of doing so. However specialist IT Buy Back companies such as Buy IT Back are actually able to buy your old equipment from you, giving you a fair market price for the resale value of your equipment once it has been thoroughly refurbished and resold. You may think that your old desktop is beyond reviving but their high levels of expertise can either refurbish the unit as a whole or break it down and reuse the components.

To find out more about Buy IT Back’s specialist computer recycling and IT buy back services, contact our friendly team today.

How To Green Up Your Business

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It seems that ever since that episode of Blue Planet when David Attenborough highlighted the plight of plastic pollution on our oceans, reducing plastic use and generally being more environmentally aware has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. For example more and more people are switching to a more plant based diet and avoiding single use plastic wherever possible.

However it is not just individuals that have a role to play, but businesses, educational establishments and other organisations (whether big or small) could have a huge impact on helping secure our planet for future generations.

So how can you ensure that your business is as green as possible?

It often seems that new businesses have a bit of an easier ride here, as they are able to establish their green credentials right from the outset; choosing the most energy efficient premises, manufacturing processes, products etc. Whereas it can be more a challenge for older and more established businesses to retrofit ecological and sustainable processes.

However there are a number of steps that all businesses can take that can really make a difference. And don’t forget, by following some of our tips below you will not only be helping the environment and doing the right thing, but you may also see an upturn in your business, as more and more people are choosing companies and products based on their eco-credentials, rather than price alone.

Go LED

Simply switching all of your lighting to energy efficient LEDs can have a huge impact on not just the environment, but also your energy bills. Yes LED lights do cost a little more in the first place, but they will usually not only pay for themselves, but also save you money in the long term. And if the thought of a complete switch over to LEDs is a bit too much to swallow, then why not just replace each old bulb with an LED as it blows?

Say Goodbye To Single Use Plastic

Obviously you can’t force your employees never to buy another bottle of water or plastic wrapped sandwich on their lunch break again, but by no longer providing plastic cups at the water cooler and getting rid of that plastic filled vending machine you will find that employees will switch to reusable bottles and packaging almost without thinking about it. Also if you are a manufacturer or have a delivery element to your business model, really think about the packaging that you are using? Do you really need to wrap everything up in plastic or are there other alternatives?

Get A Greener Cleaner

Another simple switch is to move from traditional cleaning products to those with a lower ecological footprint. Also why not try swapping paper towels for hand driers, or even an actual towel!

Reuse and Recycle

When it comes to old or redundant electronics knowing how to treat them in the most ecologically sensitive way possible can be tricky. In most cases the absolute best way to get rid of your old computers and other IT and telecoms equipment is to find a way that they can be reused. However for the average business owner this can feel like an impossible task! Here at Buy IT Back we have nearly 30 years experience in refurbishing old electronic equipment and finding it a great new home. This uses the minimum of energy (even less than recycling) and also avoids these items ending up in landfill. And, as in many cases we are able to sell on your old equipment (once we’ve given it a new lease of life), we can pass this on to you – and actually pay you for taking away that old PC that’s been cluttering up your office for months as you didn’t know what to do with it!

And even if we can’t simply refurbish and sell on your redundant electronics, we are experts in energy efficient computer recycling processes, thus ensuring that your unwanted IT equipment doesn’t go to waste.

So contact Buy IT Back today to find out how we can increase your organisations eco credentials – and pay you for the pleasure of doing so!

Data Protection and Your Business

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Mention the words ‘data protection’ and in many cases a collective groan of despair and exasperation is involuntarily emitted by anyone in the vicinity. However as much as people dread the phrase, we all understand how important it is to protect our and our clients’ data.

Since the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) on 25 May 2018, the way that companies and organisations handle and protect data has been harmonised with all other EU member states.

The next obvious question is how will Brexit affect GDPR in the UK? In essence the answer is very little will change, as the UK has adopted a new Data Protection Act which largely includes all the provisions of the GDPR. There are some small changes but our law is largely the same.

In the full text of GDPR there are 99 articles setting out the rights of individuals and obligations placed on organisations covered by the regulation. But in a nutshell:

  • There are 8 rights for individuals. These include granting people easier access to the information that companies hold about them, the responsibility of organisations to obtain clear consent before collecting any information, and a new regime of fines for any rule breaking.
  • Data leaks have to be officially reported within 72 hours.
  • Large companies need to document why they hold any data.
  • Companies are expected to limit the processing, collect only that data which is necessary, and not keep personal data once the processing purpose is completed.

However data protection and GDPR doesn’t stop when you, or your old computer does.

Data protection can become even more pressing when considering upgrading or replacing old computer, telecoms and other IT equipment, especially if the equipment has ever been used to store data.

Compete and secure data destruction is actually much harder than you think, therefore it is always recommended that you employ the services of a specialist computer recycling company or data erasure specialist when you are getting rid of any old equipment.

Often there is a cost associated with this, but this can be seen as a necessary evil to ensure your organisations’ data protection compliance. However there is another way.

Buy IT Back are specialists in not only providing a complete data destruction service, but are also able to recondition and resell much of your now completely wiped equipment and are able to pass some of this payment onto you. So rather than paying to fully clear your old equipment of data before then paying to treat it as waste, Buy IT Back can pay you to do all of these things for you! To find out more contact Buy IT Back today.

Providing IT Hardware, Data Security, Recycling & Residual Value Solutions For 25 Years Since 1992