Journey of a Device

Journey of a Device

For most electronic devices owned by everyday consumers and small businesses, the journey of a device ends in a closet, storage unit, or the landfill via a trash can. It is a familiar story that has amounted to only 17.4 percent of electronic waste processed responsibly—9.4 of 53.6 million metric tons (MMT) in 2019. These abbreviated Journeys and improper disposal have created unintended consequences that harm our public health, threaten our environment, and exacerbate climate change. But despite the commonality of this story, CircleIT is offering consumers and small businesses an opportunity to write a new one while contributing to a more circular world and protecting their data

Once extricated from the bowels of a storage closet, your old devices can be securely and responsibly disposed of by using CircleIT’s digital device disposal service. The “CircleIT” service is secure, sustainable and seamless. To “circle” a device, users visit the CircleIT website, register their device and receive a QR shipping code. The user then needs to drop off their device at the nearest FedEx Office Print and Ship Center. A FedEx team member will scan the QR code, take and securely pack the device and then send it to our Oklahoma City processing plant to have its data wiped and to be repaired (if necessary) and reused. Phones, laptops, or desktops might call the OKC plant a new lease on life, but in reality, the renewably powered plant is a leading model of sustainability and security in the Information Technology Asset Disposition (ITAD) industry.

Each device, unique in type, brand, generation, and condition, enters the plant the same way, in a box. Whether from a dentist's office or a family with a closet full of electronics, the device begins its journey at the triage area. The triage area is the first part of an extensive decision tree that weaves the electronics through the facility to its eventual endpoint, repurposing.

Regardless of functionality, all devices are wiped of existing data, settings, restrictions, locating services, and removed from blacklists, if necessary. When a device (or parts of it) finally reach new hands, it functions with zero memory of its past life. CircleIT also uses third-party verification to ensure that it clears the device beyond Department of Defense erasure standards. Businesses and people can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that sending their devices for processing will not lead to data leaks, breaches, or stolen identities. Securely wiping data is an integral part of CircleIT’s ability to build trust and expand its clientele, thus creating positive environmental and social outcomes out of what could have been e-waste.

Once wiped, functional devices undergo cosmetic repairs to fix scratches, cracked screens, or internal damage. Repairs are completed with parts and materials from electronics not fit for reuse. Finally, after the repair, the device is either resold on consignment sites such as eBay, sold in bulk to wholesalers, or donated. CircleIT aims to choose the most sustainable decisions throughout the decision tree, not necessarily the most profitable. The parts and materials that are not fit for cosmetic repairs or repurposing are sorted and shipped to recycling centers. These recycling centers can be found in Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania and uphold CircleIT’s values, adhering to specific environmental certifications and standards.

CircleIT prevents thousands of tons of toxic chemicals and valuable materials (gold, copper, silver, lithium, etc.) from ending up in landfills while mitigating greenhouse gasses associated with the mining and manufacturing of new materials. CircleIT, a B Corporation, and subscriber to multiple worker safety certifications, provides industry-leading protection and security to its staff.

In an industry that predominantly focuses on corporations, CircleIT wants to provide consumers and small businesses the opportunity to sustainably and securely process their old, slow, and broken devices. With the United Nations predicting e-waste to reach 74.7 MMT by 2030, it is paramount that devices are diverted from improper disposal and fixed for reuse. Increasing and normalizing the repurposing of electronics will not only reduce waste but protect our public health, environment, and climate in the process. The linear narrative of a device is due for a rewrite, and it will be circular.