Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Technology And Telecommunications
Authoring Organisational Unit
Information Technology - Central Unit
Date Approved
Revised 20/02/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Disposal/Recycling of Computers

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy outlines options and procedures for disposal and recycling of computers and computer equipment that are surplus to requirement.


IS - Information Services within the University of Western Australia.

Owner ­- The University department, division, or other administrative unit that originally purchased the computer and computer equipment and that is directly responsible for its management and maintenance.

Policy statement:

University computers form part of the University's asset register, often contain confidential or sensitive data, in most cases are aligned with software licences, and are environmentally unfriendly as landfill. For these reasons, care must be taken when disposing of or recycling computers. This policy enables owners to dispose of, or recycle computers and computer equipment responsibly, adhering to regulatory, legal, financial and ecological concerns.

Owners should consider the following options for the relocation of or disposal of computers and, when a responsible decision is made, follow the procedures outlined.

1 There are several options for the re-use and disposal of computers and computer equipment. While it is ultimately up to the owner to choose the best option, the following hierarchy is recommended.

1.1 Reasonable efforts should be made to see if any other unit within the University is able to make use of the equipment and any offers or requests should be given full consideration.

1.2 Equipment that has residual value may be sold, either to University members or to outside bodies, subject to the University's financial guidelines on Disposal of Assets.

1.3 Where equipment has limited resale value, consideration should be given to whether it can be donated to any charitable or community project.

1.4 If the equipment cannot be re-used, it should be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, observing the University's sustainable development policies.

2 Before disposing of any computer system, it is vital to remove all data along with any software licensed to the University.

2.1 Security is of the highest importance and sensitive and confidential data must be removed from the machine before sale, transfer or disposal to satisfy the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988.

2.2 Data and software removal is the responsibility of the owner and must not be delegated to any person outside the University without adequate contractual obligations being imposed.

2.2.1 Merely deleting the visible files is not sufficient as data recovery software can be used to 'undelete' such files. This could allow access to confidential University data and/or private user information.

2.2.2 Appropriate utility software can be purchased to wipe the computer of all traces of data files.

2.3 Other computer media should also be treated in the same way prior to disposal, sale or transfer.

3 If the computer has been registered on the University's Asset Register appropriate forms need to be completed.

3.1 Registered computers and computer items display a barcoded sticker on the machine.

3.2 If transferring or selling the machine to another unit, an Asset Transfer Form will need to be completed and sent to Financial Services.

3.3 If selling to staff or external parties, traded in or donated, an Asset Retirement Form will need to be completed and sent to Financial Services.

[This policy is a modification of an earlier version prepared by Alan Gay (Deputy Director, OUCS), Oxford University, 27-Nov-00. Grateful acknowledgement is given; it has been used with permission.]

Related forms: (Link)

Financial Services, Disposal of Assets

Sustainable Development, Computers and Electronic Equipment

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Information Services Policy Officer

Related Policies or legislation:

The Privacy Act 1988