Safe Tape Media Disposal Combines Green Services With Security Guarantees

IT admins generally know by now that getting rid of old electronics equipment involves more than just having it hauled off with little concern about where it ends up as long as it no longer remains on the premises. Yet the importance of properly disposing of and recycling storage tape and other electronics media is not something that CTOs, admins, and others in the IT field necessarily think about a lot.

Unfortunately, though, making sure storage tapes and other electronics equipment is properly disposed of is something that merits a lot of concern. Breaking environmental laws, for example, can lead to civil penalties and, in some cases, criminal prosecution. Security risks for which admins can be liable are vast, yet many enterprises are unaware of what is at stake; most executives in large U.S. firms, for example, are unaware of the risks involved with not heeding environmental laws and the costs of proper electronics disposal, according to a survey by HP Financial Services, the leasing and financial services subsidiary of HP (

Then there are the environmental concerns of tape and electronics waste disposal. According to U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) statistics, about 235 million units of electronics products sold between 1980 and 2007 had accumulated in storage as of 2007. Electronics recycling is starting to have an effect on eliminating the amount of the waste that ends up in landfills now that several states have passed legislation mandating recycling. But while the percentage of electronics recycling is increasing, the EPA says, the recycling rate only increased to 18% from 2006 to 2007.

Responsible Recycling

Seeking ways to recycle tape media instead of dumping the media in a landfill is one way admins can play a part in eliminating electronics waste. To that end, (877/798-2737; offers environmentally friendly tape disposal with strict data security guarantees.’s service is unique because “it is 100% environmentally friendly,” says Brian Musil, senior storage acquisitions manager and data eradication specialist for “We shred the data and not the reusable tape cartridge.”

Then there are the security guarantees offers. “Another unique part of our service is the extensive handling and the fact that we go above and beyond the typical standards of secure end-of-life data solutions,” Musil says.

The firm’s mission is to meet the needs of a market space that has evolved. “The IT recycling market itself has been rapidly growing over the last several years. Companies are becoming more aware of being ‘green’ and doing their part to help the environment,” Musil says. “Due to the growth and need for secure data eradication, our standards and practices have had to become better, safer, and more secure.”

The Security Guarantee

The principle concern of many admins is to make sure that their data stored on tape is safely and securely removed once they surrender it to a third party during the disposal process. Doing one’s part to help reduce landfill waste and to seek environmentally friendly options when getting rid of old tape is important, of course. However, security risks involved in electronics disposal in general remain a key concern, especially when storage media is involved.

“[You need] to know when using that you are using a company . . . focused on safely and securely eradicating data on tape media,” Musil says. “We meet and exceed standards on all laws, acts, policies, and compliance that deal with secure data eradication.”’s security certificate guarantees that the data removal process adheres to a strict protocol. For example, the firm takes digital images of the packages in which the tapes are shipped as they arrive in its warehouse, which says is locked down and protected by alarm systems. then emails the photos to the enterprise to verify that the packages have not been tampered with during the transit. The tapes received are also checked against the purchase order list to make sure nothing is missing. Then, the data removal process is scheduled as soon as the equipment arrives.’s data removal process is a key element in its offering, which the firm also says distinguishes it from the competition. “Many competitors will broker out to third parties or not fully erase the data but just erase enough to be able to resell an inferior product,” Musil says. “This is very dangerous to your company to leave your clients’ confidential information in the hands of a third party, and you should always deal with a reputable company that will fully eradicate all of the data.”

Indeed, Adam S. Lewis, a computer specialist for WTW Architects (, believes proof of security and compliance is vital to a good disposal and recycling company and appreciates’s documentation. “They give a certificate saying that the data was deleted in a legal way,” Lewis says.

The Environmental Factor’s policy is to also assure that tape is recycled whenever possible. For example, the firm’s process of deleting data but recycling the reusable tape cartridge serves as an environmentally friendly alternative compared to merely destroying the entire tape, Musil says. “The manufacturers state that these tapes have a life expectancy of 1 million passes, but average data centers will not even come close to using the tape media to its actual end of life,” Musil says.

WTW’s Lewis points out that offers solutions that are more beneficial for the environment compared to firms that will just pick up and dump your storage tapes. “It is nice to know that [our old tapes] are not going to go in some landfill. It is actually going to be reused or disposed of properly,” Lewis says.

A firm with accessible information and guarantees about recycling as well as security is hard to find, Lewis says.

Written by Bruce Gain