Making it green

The University of Portsmouth decided to work with ICT specialists Stone Group, to securely recycle its old, unwanted IT equipment

Portsmouth University has aggressive carbon targets, with a reduction goal of 30% by 2016. As part of this process, Portsmouth wanted to see their old IT assets put to good use – not simply destroyed. The University’s security architect and its sustainability lead worked closely with the IT department to co-develop policies that ensure redundant IT equipment is disposed of in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

Having previously won a desktop tender to replace outdated IT equipment and, after a six-month tender process, the University awarded Stone Group a recycling contract. With the help of Stone Group, Portsmouth now receives an efficient and secure door-to-door recycling service that not only meets its carbon reduction needs, but echoes its own zero landfill policy within its recycling and waste management scheme.

Robbie Walker, security architect at University of Portsmouth, said: “We pride ourselves on our environmental sustainability goals and see the recycling of IT hardware as a key part to achieving this.”

In addition to a regular data wiping and recycling service, the University was keen to provide its staff, students and friends of the University with the opportunity to purchase redundant kit. Staff in many organisations tend to have the connotation that the old IT kit should be made available to them once the company decides to invest in new IT equipment.

But due to data security regulations, many organisations do not allow this to happen for fear that data will be leaked into the public domain and with ill-informed expectations that the associated costs of refurbishment will be too high. 

In order to enable the university to sell the recycled IT equipment, Stone Group created a bespoke version of its e-commerce portal, known as Encore, available only to the University’s registered users. Once the sensitive data has been securely disposed of devices are restored to factory settings and uploaded to the portal for a set period of 30 days. 

The scheme is also offered to local schools with little budget but in need of newer technology.

Walker added: “Being able to offer this equipment to our staff and students through this simple portal is a natural step in supporting quality education throughout the University community. No one is really offering this service to their staff and students yet and we’re happy to be able to demonstrate what can be achieved.”