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IBM’s Computer Recycling Efforts Significantly Reducing e-Waste Worldwide


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it processed over 100 million pounds of used and obsolete computer gear, as part of its computer renewal and recycling efforts worldwide in 2006, returning less than 1% of non-hazardous material to landfills.

This is the fourth straight year in a row that IBM has managed to decrease its return-to-landfill volumes, demonstrating the company’s commitment to IT renewal, refurbish, reuse and resale in the secondary market.

“While we are known for being a leading manufacturer of IT equipment, IBM also leads the way in computer disposal,” said Wayne Balta, IBM VP of Environmental Policy. “By returning less to landfills through renewal, refurbishment and recycling, we are doing our part to protect the environment around the world.”

IBM has been perfecting its computer recycling operations for over twenty years, since its entry into the computer leasing business. Back then, the company had to develop a strategy to deal with IT equipment coming off-lease. The company became an expert on the myriad of environmental regulations around the world and best developed practices around the important issue of computer data security.

“Closets filled with old IT equipment are becoming a huge headache for IT managers across the globe,” said Daniel Ransdell, general manager of IBM Global Asset Recovery Services. “We have taken the skills and know-how that we have built up over the years and are now helping companies clean out their closets. Today we have best-in-class, comprehensive solutions that can address an enterprise’s environmental and data security challenges and put some money back in their pocket after resale in the secondary market.”

IBM is one of the few vendors in the industry with brand agnostic computer recycling operations, taking back the equipment of all other IT manufacturers. Further, IBM started a new business in 2005 to recycle sophisticated medical devices, like MRI and medical diagnostic equipment, which are reused, refurbished and resold or leased to local and community hospitals.

Each week IBM Global Asset Recovery Services takes in more than 40,000 pieces of IT gear from clients worldwide. The equipment, which includes IBM and non-IBM servers, PCs, laptops, mainframes, is recycled or refurbished at 22 sites around the world.

It is estimated that more than 600 million corporate PCs alone are due for retirement by 2010. Of those, it is estimated that only 2-5% will be scrubbed of sensitive data and recycled. IBM, as part of its Global Asset Recovery Services program, offers customers a disk overwriting service that overwrites the hard drives to US Department of Defense standards.

According to recently released 2006 numbers, IBM’s computer renewal and disposal operations processed some 108,209,492 lbs (49,083 metric tons MT) worldwide. New uses were found for 99.22% of all e-waste collected -- only 0.78 percent of e-waste collected was sent to landfills worldwide. These operations thus outperformed the company’s PELM landfill metric target, which is to maintain a landfill rate below 3.0 percent. When compared to 2005 volumes, these numbers represent a 55.43 percent decrease in the volume sent to landfill.

Since 1995, IBM has documented the collection and recovery of over 1.4 billion pounds (more than 642 million kilograms) of product and product waste worldwide (over 1.2 billion lbs diverted from landfills).


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