Orange Business Services, the Orange branch dedicated to business-to-business services, is a leading global integrator of global communications solutions for multinational corporations. Orange Business Services has its UK head office in Slough and employs 600 people over multiple local sites.
Orange Business Services uses multiple IT suppliers for its internal ICT provision, moving staff from desktops to a predominantly laptop-based PC estate over the last decade. Technology suppliers include Lenovo and Toshiba.
David Kirkbride, Senior Engineer at Orange Business Services, has been with the company for 14 years and is responsible for all hardware management, estate refreshment and ongoing maintenance of the business’ network, devices and applications. He has been recycling end of life IT hardware such as desktop PCs, cabling, laptops and notebooks since 2007.
“Our commitment at Orange to recycling our ICT hardware has been a strong part of my role for seven years,” explains David Kirkbride. “We adhere to all current European waste disposal standards and policies, and have a very comprehensive internal data destruction system in place. This is particularly important to a company like ours, where devices from laptops to digital printers could contain sensitive customer information.”
Orange Business Services has used a number of recycling partners in the past, most recently NCR. As data and waste regulation became more stringent and formal policies on recycling have become a requirement for most businesses, David Kirkbride began to notice a change in the recycling business.
“Recycling and waste management, particularly of IT hardware, has become a ‘must’ rather than a ‘nice to have’ for businesses like ours, and subsequently, the commercial opportunity for the recycling businesses themselves has grown, and changed the services they provide. Companies wanted to charge us for their recycling service, which was going to be an unwelcome addition to our budget. We started to look more openly at other suppliers.”
Stone Group approached David and he was quickly drawn to the fact that Stone’s recycling service is free to customers. David explains, “Initially, the fact that Stone doesn’t charge for recycling and disposal of IT was very attractive, but I was also very impressed by its waste management credentials and commitment to re-purposing all possible devices for secondary use. We agreed to switch from NCR to Stone Group for our hardware recycling and data destruction, and arranged our first collection.”
Stone Group collected the first 70 devices from Orange Business Services’ UK head office in Slough in July 2014, which was predominantly Dell and HP laptops at the end of their business use lifecycle, plus some cabling and smaller peripherals that were beyond use.
Before Stone’s collection, David’s team ensures that the devices have been through Orange Business Service’s strict data destruction process, where data is wiped from hard drives, and those that cannot be entirely wiped are destroyed beyond use.
Stone Group’s collection vehicle stores the devices that the team believe can be re-conditioned and re-used in individual boxes to maximise their protection, and all other hardware is secured and taken away in the same vehicle at an allotted collection time.
The Stone recycling team provided paperwork detailing each collected unit to Orange Business Services, enabling David to track and record each device through its usage lifecycle and keep account of the current company-wide estate.
Once the devices that have been earmarked for recycling have been assessed by the Stone Group team, at its Staffordshire configuration and recycling plant, the team works on how and where each device can be deployed.
Gary Buxton, Group Operations Director at Stone explains how they might be used, “We work with a number of organisations that supply reconditioned devices such as laptops to families and charities across England, and the IT Schools Africa campaign, which places units with schoolchildren in need too. We aim to supply devices that, although not suitable anymore for the organisation that has recycled them, have plenty of capacity, memory, durability and power to be an asset to those who might need them, especially for education purposes.
We recycle around 200,000 devices a year at Stone Group and 5% of those go directly back into education.”