Why your business needs to care about secure e-waste disposal

E-waste is growing at a faster rate than any other type of waste in Australia and around the world. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the cumulative volume of televisions and computers reaching the end of their useful life is expected to reach 181,000 tonnes or 44 million units by 2027-28.



E-waste contains valuable precious resources including gold, steel, copper, zinc, aluminium and brass which can be recovered and recycled into new products. It is estimated that 6000 mobile phones can be recycled to regain 3.5 kilograms of silver, 340 grams of gold, 140 grams of palladium, and 130 kg of copper.


While recycling e-waste is the right thing to do for the environment, businesses have a further issue to consider – data security.


From February 2018, businesses subject to the Privacy Act will have a mandatory obligation to report notifiable data breaches to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), and any individuals who may be affected by the breach. Non-compliance attracts penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals, and $1.7 million for companies.


This includes private sector organisations and not-for-profits with an annual turnover of more than $3 million. It also includes small businesses that may be earning $3 million or less, where they are health service providers, trading in personal information, companies that provide services under a Commonwealth contract or credit reporting bodies.


(Source: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner)


How do data breaches occur?


Whether it’s stored data on a hard drive or a mobile phone, sensitive information is a large part of business communications. Any form of unauthorised release of such information can constitute a notifiable data breach under the Act.


A study by Osterman Research revealed that 16% of all data breaches occur at asset disposal. This includes careless disposal of digital records that can be easily recovered from unsecured bins, or discarded electronic devices that haven’t been destroyed in a way that makes it impossible to retrieve data.


Safeguards for your business


Businesses are encouraged to treat stored data as a valuable asset that cannot be simply discarded at the end of its life. Proper asset tracking policies from ownership to disposal must be implemented and enforced across the technology lifecycle.


To prevent data breach and unauthorised access to your data, Cleanaway’s secure product destruction and recycling service ensures that sensitive data in your e-waste is completely destroyed, not just deleted. We tailor solutions for businesses that ensure complete security from collection and transport, to disposal and recycling.


Work with us if you prefer your e-waste securely recycled, not wasted.