Blancco Technology Group and Carbon Neutral Technology Corp released the Data Erasure Carbon Credits Calculator on Tuesday. The tool is designed to help companies in the US and Canada dispose of old IT equipment in an environmentally responsible manner.

SEE: Computer Equipment Disposal policy (TechRepublic Premium)

To promote sustainability, the joint effort allows organizations to securely get rid of old laptops, desktop computers, mobile phones, and servers, according to the press release.

“Many large organizations run anywhere from a three- to five-year refresh cycle on all their IT assets. They should be questioning what happens to those assets after they’ve gone through their refresh,” said Russ Ernst, Blancco’s executive vice president of products and technology.

“[The calculator] is providing more visibility to say, not only should you be thinking about having those assets responsibly picked up by an IT asset disposition organization, but you could also get some carbon credits for those for those assets,” Ernst said.

How the calculator works

To use the calculator, companies must enter details about their equipment into the online tool. Users are then provided an approximate monetary value and number of carbon credits they would potentially receive if they sell the assets for reuse instead of destroying them.

Depending on the value of the old devices, cash credits earned through reselling the equipment can then be used to help decrease or even eliminate the cost of securely erasing all data on the systems, which is completed before the refurbishment and resale process, according to the release.

After the erasure is complete, the company receives carbon credits. These can be used to offset other carbon emissions that the organization is generating and help the company become carbon neutral, revealing a dedication to sustainability, Ernst said.

“[Carbon credits] are a way of measuring your overall carbon footprint as well as a way that you can demonstrate that you’re being a good corporate citizen,” Ernst added.

If old IT assets are just thrown away, they are just added to landfills. By being recycled, systems can instead be used to build a more circular economy, in which products and equipment are given a second life instead of being garbage. The overall goal is to decrease waste, pollution, and carbon emissions, Ernst said.

Referencing Blancco’s previous Poor Sustainability Practices report, Ernst said, “Only about a quarter of the equipment that’s out there from enterprises is being sanitized and reused responsibly, even though 83% of those organizations have a corporate social responsibility policy.”

By using this calculator and disposing of systems properly, Ernst said the tool can help organizations prove that they are keeping sustainability in mind and are actually following such policies.

In addition to the environmental aspect, responsibly cycling out old systems is also important on a security front.

“From a data destruction perspective, before that asset moves on to another life, you want to make sure that any data that was on that device from the previous owner is completely removed and sanitized,” Ernst said.

Protecting data and considering the environment is even more critical during the chaotic time presented by the novel coronavirus, Ernst said.

“Especially in these changing times, it can be just very challenging for enterprises to keep up. You think about those assets that traditionally would be within the managed environment of an enterprise; now, all of a sudden, those assets are outside of those four walls,” Ernst said.

For organizations that have transitioned to remote ways of work, Ernst recommended “making sure that they’re following the refresh cycle, making sure that there is a collection mechanism for those assets, if they’re being refreshed; and that there’s the possibility for remote eraser on those devices even before they get dropped in the mail.”

Recycling or refurbishing old systems has become increasingly popular as companies aim to make sustainability a priority. To encourage users to recycle old devices, many mobile providers and retailers offer deals that involve trading in old devices for credits toward new ones.

For more, check out iPhone trade-in values: Apple cuts what you get by up to $100 globally on ZDNet.

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