Retired devices

In today’s digital age, computer devices are indispensable tools powering our work, research, and communication. However, the retirement of computer devices can pose significant environmental and financial challenges when disposed of incorrectly. Stanford is committed to properly retiring and disposing of computer devices to reduce the environmental impact of e-waste and lessen financial burden. A partnership between University IT (UIT) and the Property Management Office (PMO) is optimizing the use of university computers and their disposal to help Stanford achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Thankfully, protocols are in place to help you properly dispose of your devices.

Properly retire and dispose your device

Whether leaving the university or just replacing a device, it is everyone’s responsibility to return university-issued devices to the Surplus Property Sales (SPS) group within the PMO. First, you’ll want to back up any personal and proprietary data from your old device. Be aware: once you turn it in, you can’t get the device or its data back. Then, each department should have a Department Property Administrator (DPA) who can take the device off your hands. They will take care of the rest for you. Your job is done!

Once you have backed up or deleted the data you want to keep, the DPA will create an Excess Request and submit it to SPS. Next, SPS will pick up the device and reuse or recycle outside the university system. If you’d like to purchase your old Stanford computer for yourself, make sure to let your DPA know. They will assist with the approval and the purchasing process through the PMO.

Why is this process so important?

The use and disposal of electronic devices contribute to Scope 3 emissions, which are greenhouse gas emissions that are not produced by the university but are indirectly associated with Stanford operations. According to the 2022-2023 Review of Sustainability at Stanford , these types of emissions require community collaboration to minimize their impact.

The PMO and UIT are collaborating to streamline the computer retirement and disposal process to help minimize Scope 3 emissions and ensure effective stewardship of assets. Maximizing the use of university computers and disposing of them properly will help the university achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

By following the correct procedure for returning computers, we’re not only contributing to a healthier environment but also promoting financial sustainability. The reuse and repurposing of devices across campus significantly reduces the need for new purchases. When a device is ready for retirement, it can find a new home through Surplus Sales. This efficient and responsible use of Stanford’s financial resources is a win for everyone.

Learn more

To learn more about the process and guidelines around device disposal, explore the following resources:

For questions, please reach out to your DPA or the PMO Campus Support Team.

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