Is the GDPR negatively impacting on the circular economy?


Eight months since the GDPR came into force in May 2018, the world hasn’t collapsed, and the sun did come up this morning. Generally accepted as a good thing although a cause for a certain amount of anxiety for Data Controllers and Data Processors.

“What is the difference between a data processor and a data controller?
A controller is the entity that determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data, while the processor is an entity which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.”

With the penalties for breaches of the GDPR being potentially disastrous for organisations who take compliance seriously, a certain amount of “over kill” is to be expected until things settle down and GDPR Compliance becomes part of normal business process.

This is where the GDPR and the Circular Economy interact.  With global data storage growing exponentially, swapping out hard drives for ever bigger and faster units produces larger and larger amounts of used hard drives containing sensitive data that needs to be destroyed and the best way to guarantee destruction is to have a hard drive shredder on site, with the shredded residue going for metals recovery. This, in itself, is fine as the separated materials recovery rate for reuse is over 90%.

The problem is that many of the hard drives destroyed have capacities of 1, 2,3, 4 Terabyte+ and if properly wiped and remastered have considerable life left for use in secondary markets. I have not been able to find any information about the carbon footprint of producing a new 4Tb hard drive but, we can be certain that it is considerably higher than the cost of wiping and remastering an existing reusable hard drive.

GDPR Compliant Data Destruction

Here at Electronic Recycling we can provide all of the data destruction services mentioned above, we can put a mobile shredder on site for large quantities of hard drives ( 30+). For smaller quantities we can securely collect drives for immediate delivery and shredding at our facility in Finglas or, using our Proteus system by Teleplan we can absolutely securely test, wipe and soft repair drives for reuse, either on your site for larger quantities or at our facility in Finglas. Any drives that fail the Proteus tests are shredded in the normal way.

Revenues generated are shared with the client, turning a cost of destruction into a revenue generator and at the same time contributing to the circular economy, the best of both worlds.

If you have responsibility for data destruction, talk to us, we take that responsibility seriously.

Posted in: Environment, GDPR, WEEE

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