What happens to my equipment after it is picked up?

Ever wonder what happens to your used data center equipment after decommissioning? There’s an entire industry set up to recover value from used equipment and maximize resource recovery, either through reuse or responsible recycling. This industry is known as the IT asset disposition (ITAD) and e-waste recycling industry.

How It Works

Equipment is shipped to an ITAD or e-waste recycling facility. These processing facilities are set up to triage equipment systematically, destroy data and prepare equipment for reuse or recycling. Most commonly housed in an industrial warehouse, there are areas within the ITAD facility dedicated to performing specific tasks.  Typically these include:


Receiving equipment methodically and track by serial number when needed.  An extension of the receiving area is a staging area where equipment is prepared for processing.

Asset Refurbishment and Resell

Data Destruction and Asset Disposition

This is a secured area where data is destroyed via degaussing, erasing or shredding.  Erasing a hard drive provides a data safe way to reuse the hard drive, when permitted by the data center. Degaussing is a quick and effective way to destroy data on magnetic media (hard drives and back up tapes). Shredding physically destroys the drive, preventing reconstruction or recovery of digital data.


It is in this department where testing and refurbishment of the assets are done.  Assets are resold via wholesale or retail channels and once sold, prepared to be shipped.

Destruction and Recycling

Shredding and Sorting

Recycling data center equipment is achieved by separating the materials that make up the equipment into like commodity batches. Aluminum from the equipment is batched and sold. Copper parts are batched together and sold. Steel, plastic, precious metals and glass are similarly batched together. Shredding the equipment into small pieces, about 2 inches, facilitates being able to sort the different commodity materials into like batches.  After the equipment is shredded, mechanical sorting creates the unique commodity batches.

Hazardous Materials (R2 Focus Materials)

Hazardous materials, such as batteries, leaded glass, toner/ink and mercury bulbs are removed from the data center equipment prior to shredding. These materials are sent to downstream processors who have specific expertise in disposing of this material.

View Video

View this 2-1/2 minute video which shows how data center assets are recycled at SLS facilities.

View Video

Data Center Services

This webpage provides a detailed description of data center ITAD services offered by SLS.

Learn More

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