Law firm Latimer Hinks is advising local businesses to follow its example and ensure that the best use is made of redundant I.T. equipment. The Darlington firm is upgrading its computer systems and, through the website www.recycle-computers.co.uk, the firms old equipment will be removed, refurbished and tested. All the data on the computers is completely and securely removed and they will then be put to use in schools, charities or other organisations that do not have the money for, nor require, brand new state-of-the art equipment. All hard drives are over-written with random alpha numeric characters to totally and safely erase all the data, meaning it is impossible to recover any of the data already stored on the hard drive. The equipment to be recycled includes 19 Pentium 2 Computers, 10 Pentium 4 Computers, 20 monitors, six printers and over 20 keyboards and mice. The disposal of computer equipment is covered by The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive). This is an EU initiative which aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. The regulations also place responsibilities on business IT users, including the need to keep an audit trail for disposal of all IT kit, such as PCs, monitors, servers, printers and mobile phones. Anne Elliott, partner at Latimer Hinks said: Often, when computers are disposed of, they are still working and have many years of life remaining. By re-using our old equipment it saves energy and resources and prevents hazardous materials from ending up in landfill. Research strongly suggests that re-use of computers is much better for the environment than recycling. We would encourage all businesses to firstly, ensure that they comply with the regulations and secondly, consider making good use of old equipment and prolonging its life in a worthwhile way.