From Trash to Treasure: Change the ITAD Stigma

Within your ITAD program lies a wealth of untapped potential to benefit your entire organization. Learn how to win C-Suite support for your program.

As an IT Asset Manager or IT Leader, you play a crucial role in maximizing the value derived from your company’s technology investments. Beyond the conventional approaches of IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) involving remarketing and recycling, lies a wealth of untapped potential that can have positive ripple effects across every facet of your business and beyond. However, far too many internal stakeholders – from the C-Suite down – think of an ITAD program as insignificant, or something that just has to be done – a way to get rid of stuff. But in truth, a company’s ITAD program is one of its greatest hidden treasures.

This white paper gives you the tools you need to sway yourself, your team and eventually the C-Suite over toward this point of view so that you can deliver optimal financial, environmental, and social returns for your organization, while also gaining that elusive executive sponsorship your entire ITAM program deserves. Let’s move the perception of ITAD at your organization from a transactional burden to a corporate enabler – simply put, from Trash to Treasure!

Why ITAD Is a Hidden Treasure

Let’s start by examining the concept of “hidden”. Historically, ITAD has primarily focused on the disposal of eWaste, initially through recycling and then later evolved to more “responsible recycling practices” with the inception of groups like e-Stewards, founded with support and input from Sage Sustainable Electronics co-founders Bob Houghton and Jill Vaske, who were pioneers in their field.

The e-Stewards group and ITADs like Sage, emphasized responsible recycling as imperative to protect the health of the planet, but also to prevent security breaches. This brought on the formalization of ITAD program offerings to include full chain of custody tracking, secure logistics and proper data sanitization.

And then, again, in large part due to our pioneering founders, CIOs, ITAD providers, pivoted to remarketing as a way to bring devices to a second life, or often a third or fourth life – while also providing financial value to themselves and their customers As the secondary electronics market grew, the remarketing offset generated by this activity sometimes surpassed, the expenses incurred by ITAD customers, therefore transforming the perception of from mere secure waste disposal into a potential profit center..

Nevertheless, the prevailing perception today by many within the ITAD industry, but especially by those on the outside looking in is that “ITAD is simply a means to an end, a necessary evil to protect the company’s security posture and to dispose of eWaste with the chance of recouping the expenses through remarketing.” Even further, some companies have gotten so used to a positive financial workstream they mistakenly plan for it without thinking much about the fluctuating secondary electronics market. This is where the majority of ITAD customers have peaked from an understanding and consumption standpoint – there is so much interest in chasing remarketing dollars and quick settlements in ITAD that hidden value is unknowingly left on the table.

But there is so much more, and this perception of ITAD couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is – your ITAD program is likely bursting with hidden treasure. Why does your ITAD program hold so much potential value? Beyond remarketing revenue there is also—financial, environmental, and social upsides that are win-win’s for your company bottom line, culture and the greater good.

Here are some examples of stigmas vs. truths about ITAD with questions to ask of your current provider to find out where you stand.

ITAD Stigma vs. ITAD Truth

Stigma: ITAD = IT Asset Disposal.There is nothing more

Truth: Premier IT Asset Disposition Organizations enable various avenues for value through reuse options while also integrating with customer IT organizations to perform functions such as redeployments, lease returns, break/fix, provisioning, etc.

Stakeholders: IT, Finance, ITAM, IT Security, Environmental, Sourcing, Philanthropy, HR

Smart Questions to Ask:
1. What is the full menu of services?
2. How do the services map to stakeholder value?
3. Can it be quantified?

Stigma: Used IT equipment is worthless.

Truth: IT assets hold an incredible amount of value when properly refurbished and reused.

Stakeholders: Finance, Environmental, Philanthropy

Smart Questions to Ask:
1. What’s your Reusable Yield?
2. Can you break that out by asset type?
3. Can you break that out by reuse type?

Stigma: Donation of our equipment presents a data risk

Truth: Data sanitization processes on donated devices is no different than those executed on recycled and/or resold devices

Stakeholders: IT, Security, Philanthropy

Smart Questions to Ask:
1. Who started this rumor?
2. Will I get a certificate of erasure to confirm?

Stigma: Recycling assets means we’re doing right by the planet.

Truth: Not all ITAD programs are created equal. In fact, ethically recycling your assets is not a given. Reuse is what does right by the planet. Recycling is always last resort

Stakeholders: Environmental

Smart Questions to Ask:
1. How does this relate to Reusable Yield?
2. What is “Responsible Recycling”?
3. Are there certifications?

The truth is that your ITAD program holds an immense amount of potential. If optimized to align with company mission and values, your program can make a huge impact. For example, if your company value’s remote workers, a stellar box program can help to engage, retain and even recruit these employees. Another example, if your company values sustainability, committing to exploring all options of reuse, not just remarketing, can help you to meet those goals.

Instead of viewing ITAD as a necessary evil, I propose that organizations embrace it as a strategic enabler—a catalyst for change and growth. This means reimagining ITAD as more than just a disposal process, but rather as a dynamic ecosystem that fuels circular economy initiatives, promotes resource optimization, and cultivates collaboration across departments and stakeholders. This vision starts with you.
Your Reusable Yield ™ holds the key to your ITAD treasure.

We all know, on the surface level, reuse and average selling prices (ASPs) are the key to an ITAD program’s success. But remarketing is just the beginning. The true measurement of sustainability in ITAD is total Reusable Yield, or the percentage of your ITAD program’s assets that are repurposed to another user. This encompasses all second, third or fourth lives of equipment and there can be many. However, most ITAD providers are not equipped or dedicated to finding all of them all.

Your ITAD provider can work hard, with your urging, to maximize your yield by creating:
– Robust Remarketing Programs
– Wholesale Programs
– Donation Programs
– Employee Purchase Programs
– Equipment Redeployments
– And even, Lease Return Programs

Not enough ITAD practitioners and their C-Suite leaders can envision or have even contemplated these items as enablers for full potential and maximum Reusable Yield. It’s time to start now. Use our Reusable Yield Calculator to measure the potential for yours.

How to Transform the ITAD Stigma

Step One: Win over your team.

Goal: Create a Positive Perception of ITAD Within Your Team

Depending on the quality of your existing ITAD program, the transformation could be as simple as shifting perception or as complex as revamping your entire program.

The first step is to examine your own program. Is your current ITAD program reaching its full potential? Are stakeholders across the C-Suite already involved? Fantastic. You can skip straight to the steps below on shifting internal perception. If not, a good start is to ask yourself, your team and your ITAD provider what is possible within your ITAD program. When you know what is possible, the buy-in to create change will be soon to follow.

To transform your ITAD program, you’ll first need to believe that your company’s assets are treasure, not trash, (and so will your team).

Steps to Create a Positive Perception of ITAD

Reframe the Narrative Within Your Department: Shift the attitude and narrative around ITAD from being solely about disposal to being a strategic program that has the potential to align with the company mission, values and financial goals. For your department to win, everyone on the team must believe that ITAD isn’t trash, but a company’s treasure. Refer to our Stigma vs. Truth diagram with your team and discuss with your current ITAD provider. What is possible? How can you achieve your goals? Emphasize the role of ITAD in optimizing resource utilization, minimizing risk, and supporting sustainability initiatives. Position the narrative for the ITAD program as a valuable contributor to the company’s overall success and competitiveness.

Set Clear Objectives: Much like we all have an ITAM maturity model which helps to steer our direction, we need one specifically for ITAD. Do the functional gap analysis in the form of a maturity model for what services you offer, and the potential services you could offer, through your ITAD provider that align with corporate goals. Define clear objectives and milestones to achieve the potential. This could mean maximizing resale value even more, initiating other financial value other than Remarketing, reducing environmental impact, increasing Reusable Yield, or increasing employee engagement. Ensure that the objectives are measurable and tied to broader organizational objectives. Align these objectives to your team’s daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals so these lofty goals feel real and attainable.

Demonstrate Value: While setting your objectives through your ITAD maturity model, show the value. Showcase the value generated by the ITAD program through tangible and intangible means and past and future success stories. Highlight cost savings, revenue generation, environmental impact reductions, and improvements in data security and compliance. Add on any value you don’t have but should have. For example, a digital equity program. Next, define what metrics and KPIs you’ll use to track progress to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness over time. Create a dashboard to communicate and always share these results with your team regularly to keep them motivated and to tie everything back to their value.

Create an ITAD Investment Proposal: With your team’s and ITAD provider’s participation and your ITAD Maturity model with KPIs in hand, your can now create an in depth proposal for improving your program. Your current ITAD provider will be key in this process and can do much of the work for you. Ask them to articulate the potential ROI of a program that aligns with your vision and goals.

Become a Best Practices Champion: Implement best practices and industry standards in ITAD management to ensure optimal outcomes. Be proud of what you do and share it with others. This includes partnering with reputable ITAD service providers, adhering to data security protocols, implementing environmentally sustainable disposal methods, and staying compliant with relevant regulations. It also includes promoting responsible asset stewardship with your company’s employees, and ensuring they are educated on the importance of IT Asset end-of-life protocols.

Continuous Improvement: Continuously evaluate and refine the ITAD program based on feedback, performance metrics, and industry best practices. Stay abreast of emerging technologies, regulatory changes, and market trends that may impact ITAD practices. Adapt and evolve the program to remain agile and responsive to changing needs and priorities. Further, adapt and evolve your maturity model as you mature! Keep track of the progress with iterations of the model itself that you could easily show.

Now that you have a plan for the above, you should be able to answer most questions that come your way because you’ve given thought to almost all angles, You’re ready to approach the potential stakeholders in order to bolster support, and ideally increase budget and overall investment and interest toward your ITAD program.

Note: you don’t have to transform your program overnight, but aligning your team to taking the steps to get you there is key. It’s not easy and takes a commitment to a long-term shift in how you practice asset disposition.
Remember, it starts with your positivity, as positivity is contagious! So, stay positive!

Step 2: Engage Key Stakeholders

Goal: Earning the buy-in of key stakeholders across the organization is the key to your ITAD program’s transformation.

Engage key stakeholders across departments, including finance, IT, risk management, human resources, marketing, philanthropy and sustainability, to garner support for your ITAD investment proposal.

Here’s how to win over stakeholders:
1. Identify Stakeholders to Win Over.
2. Ask your leadership team who they think the most influential stakeholders across the company’s departments are. Make a short list of who you’d like to have on board and in support of your ITAD investment proposal.

Reach Out, Ask for Advice.
Reach out to stakeholders across departments and ask what they think of the current ITAD program. Asking for advice is a great way to gain valuable input. Spoiler: you may hear some stigmas at this stage in the process or they may know absolutely nothing about your program. That’s okay! Take a deep breath and remind yourself of your goal – to change their perception! Hearing what they think sets the baseline for selling them on the idea of what can be. Next, ask them what they’d think of an improved program with a focus on the element that most affects their department (refer to our Truth vs. Stigma table).Are they enthused about what is possible? If so, fantastic – this is a stakeholder to enlist as a supporter of a new and improved ITAD program. Are they indifferent? Take note and move on to other potential internal advocates.

Follow up with next steps.
Thank the stakeholder for their input. Let them know their perspective will be used to inform a proposal and presentation to the C-Suite and that you’ll keep them in the loop as the proposal moves forward.

Seek Executive Sponsorship.
To succeed in pitching the C-Suite on an ITAD Transformation, you’ll need the support of at least one C-Suite member ahead of time. Your CIO is hopefully a given. So, with your CIO, choose at least one other C-Suite member to join the effort. This person will become a champion of your proposal and advocate for its approval. Perhaps it’s the Chief Sustainability Officer or even the Chief Financial Officer. It just depends and can vary by situation.

Anticipate Objections and Provide Solutions.
Anticipate potential objections from the stakeholders and C-Suite members, such as budget constraints or skepticism about the ROI of ITAD investments. Prepare persuasive counter arguments and provide evidence-based solutions to address their concerns. Offer to pilot test initiatives or implement phased approaches to mitigate risks and demonstrate feasibility.

Step Three: Win over the C-Suite

Goal: Persuade the C-Suite that their ITAD program can positively benefit every aspect of the business.

Now that you and your team are armed with an ITAD investment proposal and you have solid stakeholder support – it’s time to pitch the C-Suite. Remember, improving the company’s ITAD program is not merely a technical or operational concern—it is a strategic imperative. Your ITAD program can directly impact the financial performance, risk management, sustainability efforts, operational efficiency and philanthropic arm of the organization. That’s a very big deal. By recognizing these multifaceted benefits and championing its implementation, the C-suite can drive lasting value and competitive differentiation.

Remember: Optimizing your ITAD program is a win-win for everyone in the room. Here’s how to win them over.

Understand the C-suite’s Priorities and Align with Environmental and Social Responsibility:

Before making your case, take the time to understand the priorities and objectives of the C-suite members, including the CEO, CFO, CIO, and others. For example, most companies are now publishing a Corporate Responsibility Report (CSR) or a Sustainability Report or something similar to either and it is usually provided alongside or within the 10-K, which is the annual report filed by public companies for the Security and Exchange Commission. Consider how improving the ITAD program can contribute to achieving the financial, environmental and social goals you find within these documents. Showcase how investing in sustainable ITAD practices aligns with the company’s CSR initiatives, enhances brand reputation, and meets the expectations of environmentally and socially-conscious customers, investors, and employees.

Communicate the Value Proposition (financial, risk, operational, environmental, social):

Clearly articulate the value proposition of investing more in the ITAD program, emphasizing the tangible benefits for the company, its stakeholders, and the broader community. Use compelling storytelling, visuals, and data-driven insights to make your case memorable and persuasive. Bring in your stakeholder interviews to make the case even more compelling.

Here are some more in depth examples of the positive impact an ITAD program can have on various departmental arms of a company:

Financial Benefits: A well-optimized ITAD program can result in substantial financial savings and revenue generation opportunities. By maximizing the resale value of decommissioned IT assets through repair, refurbishment and resale, organizations can recoup a significant portion of their initial investment to help offset the topline cost of disposition. Additionally, efficient asset redeployment, remote devices collection & consolidation and lease return processes can minimize unnecessary expenditures associated with storage, maintenance, lease penalties, and associated O&M labor usually overlooked in annual budgeting exercises. Start by quantifying the potential financial benefits of investing more in the ITAD program. Provide concrete data and ROI projections based on factors such as increased resale value, cost savings from efficient asset redeployment, and reduced risk of data breaches or regulatory.

Risk Mitigation and Compliance: what is the stigma? Effective ITAD practices are crucial for mitigating risks associated with data breaches, environmental regulations, and corporate governance. C-suite executives, particularly the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO), have a vested interest in ensuring that the company’s IT assets are disposed of securely and in compliance with relevant industry standards and regulations. By prioritizing ITAD improvement, organizations can minimize the potential for costly legal liabilities and reputational damage stemming from data breaches or non-compliance. Illustrate how an optimized ITAD program can minimize the company’s exposure to costly legal liabilities, reputational damage, and operational disruptions. Use real-world examples and case studies to demonstrate the consequences of inadequate ITAD practices.
Operational Efficiency lease return, redeploy: Streamlining ITAD processes can contribute to overall operational efficiency and productivity within the organization. By partnering with ITAD service providers that offer comprehensive solutions for asset tracking, logistics management, and reporting, the C-suite can ensure seamless coordination and optimization of IT asset lifecycle management. This, in turn, can free up valuable resources and personnel for other strategic initiatives, driving business growth and agility. Highlight the operational efficiencies and productivity gains that can be achieved through improved ITAD processes. Illustrate how streamlining asset tracking, logistics management, and reporting can free up resources and personnel for other strategic initiatives, driving overall business agility and competitiveness.

Environmental Responsibility: In an era marked by growing concerns about the planet’s health and sustainability, corporate environmental responsibility has become a key priority for stakeholders, including investors, customers, and employees. By adopting sustainable ITAD practices such as equipment refurbishment & resale, redeployment, donation and recycling, organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship. This can enhance brand reputation, attract environmentally-conscious consumers, and align with corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives.

By following these steps and crafting a compelling case for investing more in the ITAD program, IT Asset Managers can effectively convince the C-suite of the strategic importance and value of prioritizing ITAD improvement initiatives.


While traditionally viewed as a means to dispose of e-waste and recoup minimal returns through remarketing, ITAD holds far greater potential. By reframing the narrative around ITAD and transforming it from a transactional burden to a strategic enabler, organizations can realize significant financial, environmental, and social benefits.
The journey begins with challenging stigmas surrounding ITAD and embracing the truth of its value proposition. From maximizing Reusable Yield™ to exploring diverse disposal options beyond remarketing, IT Asset Managers can leverage their ITAD programs to achieve tangible financial gains while promoting environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

Transforming the ITAD stigma requires a concerted effort involving the entire organization. By engaging stakeholders, winning over internal teams, and ultimately securing C-Suite support, IT Asset Managers can drive lasting change and position ITAD as a catalyst for business growth and competitive differentiation. Through clear communication of the value proposition, alignment with corporate objectives, and demonstration of tangible benefits, IT Asset Managers can pave the way for a more strategic and impactful ITAD program.

In essence, the journey from ITAD stigma to ITAD treasure is not just about disposal—it’s about recognizing the inherent value of IT assets, optimizing their lifecycle management, and embracing a holistic approach that benefits the organization, its stakeholders, and the wider community. By following the steps outlined in this white paper and committing to a long-term shift in perspective, organizations can unlock the full potential of their ITAD programs and reap the rewards of a more sustainable and socially responsible approach to asset disposition.