Most Effective Ways to Dispose of Old Equipment

Most Effective Ways to Dispose of Old Equipment

Learn how to dispose of old equipment responsibly. Discover where to dispose of equipment and decide whether to scrap, recycle, or resell your old machinery and electronics.
Luke Crihfield

Disposing of old equipment, especially manufacturing machinery and electronics, can be a daunting task. 

This guide will help you navigate the complexities of disposing of old electronic equipment, including where to dispose of it and how to decide whether to scrap, recycle, or resell. 

By the end of this article, you'll have a clear understanding of the best practices for responsible disposal.

Understanding Old Equipment Disposal

Why Disposing of Old Equipment Matters

Proper disposal of old equipment is essential to protect the environment and comply with legal requirements. Incorrect disposal can lead to hazardous materials seeping into the ground and water, causing significant environmental damage.

On top of that, selling industrial equipment and selling electrical surplus is a good way to improve balance sheets and return money to supply chains striving for efficiency and low carrying costs.

Environmental Impact

Electronic waste, or e-waste, contains toxic substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can pollute the environment if not disposed of properly. Recycling and proper disposal prevent these toxins from entering landfills and ecosystems.

Legal Considerations

Many countries have strict regulations on the disposal of electronic waste. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions. It's crucial to understand and follow local laws when disposing of old equipment.

Financial Burden & Benefit

Manufacturing plant managers are held to KPIs that center on efficient productivity such as capacity utilization and production downtime. Meanwhile, others in the supply chain see their bonus targets affected by their ability to run lean processes with minimal excess stock. 

Efficient and timely disposal of surplus and old equipment through industrial liquidators and other industrial equipment buyers can help improve your KPIs and return money to the organization simultaneously.

Best Practices for Efficient Equipment Disposal

The first step for enterprises looking to dispose of old equipment and surplus assets is understanding what they should dispose of in the first place, and how. 

Generally speaking, you should sell that which has significant value, recycle what can be recycled, and scrap the rest. Sounds straightforward, but knowing what falls into which category is the tricky part.

Amplio solves the guessing game for enterprises with its intelligent surplus analysis software. With any list of surplus, excess, and old equipment, we can seamlessly run intelligence to recommend the best way to dispose of each part of the list. That way, our clients can immediately scrap a large chunk of what’s gumming up their warehouse space, and then take more time to sell the valuable excess (through us).

Our approach makes it easy for our clients to make space in warehouses and manufacturing plants while also getting a great return on their old equipment.

Types of Old Equipment

Industrial Machinery

Disposing of old and surplus industrial machinery presents unique challenges due to their size and complexity. These machines often contain valuable metals and hazardous substances that must be handled appropriately.

IT Equipment

IT equipment encompasses a wide range of devices used in information technology, including servers, networking hardware, data storage devices, and computer peripherals. Proper disposal of IT equipment is crucial due to the sensitive data they often contain and the potential environmental hazards from materials like lead and mercury. Ensuring secure data destruction and utilizing certified e-waste recyclers can help mitigate these risks while promoting sustainability.

Consumer Electronics

Common types of old electronic equipment include computers, smartphones, tablets, printers, and televisions. These devices often contain hazardous materials that require special handling.

Office Equipment

Office equipment such as copiers, fax machines, and telecommunication devices also need proper disposal methods to ensure they do not harm the environment.

Recycling Old Equipment

Benefits of Recycling

Recycling old equipment conserves natural resources, reduces pollution, and helps manage hazardous substances responsibly. It usually will see equipment or electronics broken down into its component parts, with the valuable reusable components going back into production, and others being destroyed.

Finding Certified Recyclers

Ensure your electronics are recycled properly by finding certified recyclers through organizations like e-Stewards or R2 (Responsible Recycling).

Steps to Recycle Electronics

  1. Locate a certified recycler.
  2. Prepare your electronics by removing personal data.
  3. Drop off or schedule a pickup with the recycler.
  4. Ensure you receive a certificate of recycling.

Look Into Federal and State Tax Incentives for Recycling

Many governments provide tax incentives for businesses that recycle. These incentives can come in the form of tax credits or deductions for expenses related to recycling activities – check your state laws in particular for benefits recycling can bring to your tax burden. No need to wait to recycle for this; just get a certificate of recycling when you do it as proof.

Scrapping Old Equipment

When to Consider Scrapping

Scrapping is an option when equipment is no longer functional or repairable. It involves dismantling devices to recover valuable materials like metals and plastics. In particular, scrappers will target valuable metals such as copper when scrapping your old equipment.

Old equipment that is no longer functional or refurbishable usually needs to be scrapped. In addition, many spare parts managed by MRO organizations are most suitable for scrapping. Unfortunately, the cost to transport them or recycle them is greater than their eventual resale value, so the economics push them towards safe destruction.

How to Scrap

Scrapping should be done by a local service – the easier the logistics, the better. It rarely makes financial sense to freight scrap over large distances, so the less you can think about scrapping and the less you can pay for it, the better. Get a trusted local partner and hand off everything to them.

Reselling Old Equipment

We’ve written a few guides on selling industrial equipment and selling electrical surplus – learn more there!

How to Dispose of Old Electronic Equipment

Identifying Electronic Waste

Before disposing of electronic equipment, identify whether it qualifies as e-waste. This includes any device with a battery or plug that is no longer functional or needed. These items are subject to stricter regulations and have to be handled more carefully.

Preparing Electronics for Disposal

Before disposing of electronics, remove any personal data and hazardous materials like batteries. This preparation step is crucial for both environmental safety and personal security.

Alternatively, you can rely on a certified partner to handle the challenge of disposing of electronics with personal data. You want to look for a company with R2 certification for recycling, and a certification like NAID for data destruction. 

R2 stands for Responsible Recycling and is a standard specifically created for the electronics recycling industry by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). NAID is the National Association of Information Destruction, and they certify their members in wiping personal data.

You can trust a partner with a combination of these certifications to ensure that your organization doesn’t expose sensitive information to the public and to ensure that your electronics are responsibly recycled.


How do I dispose of old electronic equipment?

To dispose of old electronic equipment, identify local disposal regulations and take advantage of government programs, retailer take-back services, or e-waste collection centers.

Where can I find a place to dispose of my old electronics?

You can find disposal locations through local government programs, retailer take-back services, and dedicated e-waste collection centers.

What is the best way to recycle old equipment?

The best way to recycle old equipment is to use certified recyclers. Prepare your electronics by removing personal data and hazardous materials before recycling.

Is it better to scrap or resell my old devices?

The choice between scrapping and reselling depends on the condition and value of the device. Resell functional devices and scrap those that are no longer repairable.

What should I do with old industrial machinery?

For old industrial machinery, hire specialized disposal services that comply with local regulations and handle hazardous materials safely.

How can I ensure my data is secure before disposal?

Ensure data security by using data destruction software or physically destroying storage media before disposing of electronic equipment.

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