The COVID-19 Impact on IT Recycling and What This Means for the Future

Hard Drive Shredding

COVID-19 left its mark across many industries, IT asset disposition included. Now, as more companies are allowing employees to work from home and many telecommuting employees are returning to the office, the face of IT recycling is changing. IT recycling is a major player in the technology arena and one that is continually evolving to meet consumer needs and expectations now and in the future.

IT recycling fulfills an important role

IT RecyclingWith billions of new electronic devices infiltrating the world each year, electronic waste (e-waste) is a rapidly growing concern.

In 2019, the United States generated 6.92 million tons of e-waste. This comes out to be about 46 pounds per person! Because e-waste contains hazardous components such as lead, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls, keeping electronics out of landfills is critical for our health and the future of our planet.

When electronics are recycled properly, these hazardous materials can be managed properly. What’s more? Recycling also allows for the recovery of valuable metals such as copper, silver, gold and palladium. In fact, one ton of circuit boards contains 40-800 times more gold and 30-40 times more copper than one metric ton of ore. As a result, when these precious metals are recycled, the demand for mining them decreases and helps preserve our natural resources.

The role of IT recycling is vital in supporting our economy and protecting our environment and our natural resources.

A growing demand for refurbished equipment

IT RecyclingWhen COVID-19 hit, it threw employers into a tailspin. To protect employees while continuing to service customers, millions of workers were forced to switch to remote work, more or less overnight. This rapid pivot had an immediate effect on the IT recycling industry:

  • Many companies clamped down on their spending and many suspended their equipment replacement cycle. This meant that fewer assets were turned into ITAD companies for recycling and refurbishment. Employees held onto old equipment longer.
  • Many companies scrambled to secure refurbished equipment such as laptops and printers for remote workers.
  • Many companies redeployed electronic assets among their telecommuting employees.


  • Supply and demand drove up the cost of refurbished equipment.
  • ITAD companies felt the squeeze from the decreased intake of recyclable assets and the increased demand for refurbished equipment.
  • ITAD companies saw the need for new fee-based services.

Want to learn more about developing an effective, secure and profitable IT asset disposition (ITAD) program for your business? Download our free guide here!

A demand for new fee-based services

IT RecyclingCOVID-19 changed the way small businesses all the way up to large corporations deploy and utilize technology and many ITAD companies are brainstorming how they can help.

  • Because many employees are still telecommuting and may do so permanently, keeping track of who has which electronic assets can be a challenge. Inventory tracking is one fee-based service many ITAD companies are adding to their list of services.
  • For many businesses that had to lay off employees, surplus assets are sitting around while owners and managers are focused on regaining their footing. IT asset disposition companies are taking the initiative to reach out and help turn unused assets into cash while at the same time protecting these companies’ reputations through secure disposition.
  • ITAD companies are stepping up to help businesses redeploy assets among their employees.
  • For businesses with remote workers, security is a top priority. In many cases, ITAD companies are helping set up security services for their networks and data.

Looking towards the future, many IT recycling companies see the growing importance of providing remote services for their clients. This could include remote data wiping, facilitating the mail-in process for end-of-life assets and providing remote data security services, among other offerings.

How is your COVID pivot changing your ITAD needs? We’d love to hear from you! At Tech Dump, we want to make your IT asset deployment, management and IT recycling as seamless as possible so you can focus on running your business. Call us at 763.432.3117 to discuss how we can help!

Back to Blog

Contact Us

Recent News & Articles