IDC Expects Growth in PC Recycling and Refurbishing Industry to Meet Expanding Disposal Regulations

FRAMINGHAM, MA – NOVEMBER 1, 2005 – The PC industry has been a leading driver of economic growth in the past three decades. The explosion in the use of computers in businesses has been driven by the need to modernize work processes and boost productivity, while the Internet, entertainment and other digital applications were among the primary drivers of PC adoption in the consumer market. IDC estimates the installed base of PCs was more than 749 million systems worldwide in 2004, with the United States accounting for nearly 33% of these systems.

PC penetration exceeds 65% of all U.S. households and is virtually 100% in the commercial sector. Continued growth is expected, however, as businesses and consumers shift to portable PCs and flat-panel displays. What to do with the millions of PCs and peripheral devices as they are retired has sparked a new debate that is likely to intensify, prompting the inevitable involvement of lawmakers and government.

"Millions of systems will be moving out of homes and offices and will have to be properly disposed. Some will have their life elongated through a data cleansing and refurbishing process, others will be de-manufactured with their various parts reused by other industries, while others will be completely destroyed," said David Daoud, research manager for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker and Personal Computing programs.

Most companies have yet to include asset disposition in their PC ownership cost analysis, and consider a good strategy as one that would protect them from possible legal problems and generate residual income to their organization. The preliminary results of a survey currently being conducted by IDC suggest that less than 37% of commercial entities of all sizes have a formal PC recycling and end-of-life policy. The results of the survey will be available in December 2005.

In the meantime, IDC has published its first research into this area, outlining how the recycling and refurbishing industry is likely to expand and create a new market. IDC expects consolidation in the recycling and refurbishing industry will accelerate under the pressure of an expanding body of federal and state disposal regulations.

The IDC Insight, Trash to Treasure: Old PC Equipment Poses Risks, Opportunities (IDC #34226), reviews the various aspects of compliance when dealing with PC end-of-life disposition. The report reviews data-related and environmental-related compliance while seeking to establish basic guidelines for both IT vendors and their customers when it comes to grasping the challenges and establishing procedures. To purchase this document, call IDC's Sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

IDC is currently launching a multiclient study to further examine this market – United States PC and Display Disposal/Recycling and Compliance. The objective of this study is to understand the fast-evolving dynamics in the computer recycling sector with an analysis of the recovery and waste of PCs and displays in the United States. For more information on this multiclient study, contact Jon Guloyan at (508) 935-4296.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

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