What is the Difference Between Electronics Recycling and ITAD?

Now I know what you are thinking, is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) not just electronics recycling with a fancier name?  

It is a common mistake to make as they are similar in many ways. However, there are some key differences in both the process and the end goal which you should be aware of.  

So, What is Electronics Recycling? 

Electronics recycling is the process of recovering materials from used electronic goods ideally at the end of the products lifecycle, usually when the assets are broken beyond repair. Electronics recycling is ideal when the owner does not need certification of destruction and is happy to pay to have the devices destroyed. 

Electronics Recycling marks the end of the products lifecycle and the materials within the devices are turned into raw materials to be used in a completely new product. This process is good because it reduces the amount of e-waste on our planet, and it does recover valuable resources.  

What is ITAD? 

ITAD is the process of disposing of used IT hardware in a secure and environmentally conscious manner. ITAD represents a much more complex process that aims to keep IT hardware in the market, keep businesses compliant with data protection regulations and where possible, recoup value for the seller. ITAD is a business-friendly, secure, and sustainable approach to disposing of IT assets. Find out more about what ITAD is here.  

ITAD VS Electronics Recycling 

The difference is in the details. Specifically, the details of the process. For an organisation wanting to dispose of data bearing IT devices, the extra steps in the ITAD process can be essential and often a legal requirement!  

The main differences relate to Security, Service and Sustainability: 


Data-bearing devices such as hard drives often store sensitive information like customer/patient records, financial records, private images etc. When disposing of these devices it is essential that this data is kept safe and is sanitised.  

ITAD vendors use state of the art data erasure software to completely sanitise data bearing devices and provide certification of compliance with data protection regulations. This guarantees the security of a business's confidential data. In addition, ITAD staff are highly skilled and security vetted. Secure GPS tracked collection, standalone facilities under 24hour surveillance and complete chain of custody asset tagging are a few of the other services unique to ITAD. Traditional electronics cannot offer this level of security and accountability within the process.  


Traditional electronics recycling is not a ‘business-friendly' solution. There is little chance of significant value recovery and the process is inherently wasteful. Electronics recycling takes a blanket one size fits all approach to used electronics which often leads to functional devices being destroyed unnecessarily. Electronics recycling clumps assets into loose categories for destruction however, the ITAD process involves assessing every asset individually. This allows the vendor to gauge the functional and cosmetic condition of each device which allows for potential re-sale and potential value recovery.  

ITAD services are built with organisations in mind and aim to offer bespoke IT solutions. The high level of skill and experience enables vendors to advise clients on how to manage the lifecycle of IT equipment with maximum efficiency and minimal disruption. Some vendors will offer services like data-centre decommissioning which involves logistics planning, professional removals and managing downtime.  You do not get that from an electronics recycler! 


ITAD is a circular process, it ends with either putting IT devices back into the market or when that is not possible repurposing the materials and responsibly recycling the waste. Traditional electronics recycling however marks the end of the product's lifespan. Certified ITAD vendors guarantee sustainable device destruction and prevent useful technology entering the planets waste stream.  

While electronics recycling can still be a viable option for organisations, ITAD represents a much more secure, sustainable, and enterprise-friendly process that is designed to help tackle the major e-waste related environmental issues we are facing, it also represents an effective IT life-cycle management solution that can be extremely beneficial to organisations.  

Techbuyer’s Secure ITAD Services  

Techbuyer’s ITAD service is highly accredited, we are the fastest ever organisation to achieve full ADISA certification! This is due to our experienced team and our commitment to data security practices. Over our 15 years, we have developed what is the most secure ITAD process. We offer secure GPS tracked transportation, full chain of custody asset tagging, a security vetted team and a separate secure facility under 24/7 surveillance. We also use state of the art data erasure software from Blancco and WhiteCanyon (the same software used by the US Department of Defense and NASA). This guarantees 100% data sanitisation.  

Not only do we deliver on security, we also pride ourselves on our service. Our 5* customer service team are based in our head office and are on hand 7 days a week to offer expert advice. We also realise that ‘time is money so we do everything with maximum efficiency and minimum disruption. With our data centre decommissioning service for example our highly skilled technicians help your business power down safely, minimising downtime and eliminating the risk of data loss. From when you make your first enquiry you will receive first-class advice and support within the hour! 

Don’t just take our word for it, see what our clients have said about us in our reviews and case studies. 

Speak to one of our friendly experts now to learn what bespoke ITAD solutions can do for your organisation.   

Link to Techbuyer's ITAD e-guide