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Decommissioning Your Data Center? 3 Tips for Disposing of Old Cables

Decommissioning Your Data Center? 3 Tips for Disposing of Old Cables

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, September 11, 2017 11:30

If you've been in the I.T. field for long, you know cables are an annoying but necessary part of connecting equipment. Even as more businesses have gone wireless, server rooms and data centers remain filled with cables, creating challenges for network administrators. When it comes time to decommission a data center, however, cables become one more thing employees must get rid of as they're offloading equipment.

IT professionals are often aware of the steps necessary to dispose of old electronics, but does that knowledge extend to cables and other peripherals? As you eye that pile of cables in the corner of your server room, here are a few options for getting rid of them.


The demand for cables to support business IT needs extends to nonprofits, which often lack the resources found in for-profit businesses. As you decommission your data center, check with local organizations to see if they have a need for cables for their server rooms or desktop computers. Check with local STEM organizations to see if they need cables for their upcoming events. If you have little luck there, call nearby churches, your Board of Education, or charities in the area. If you can donate items locally, you'll be helping a nonprofit while also saving yourself the challenge of finding a way to recycle.


Disposing of your cables may seem the easiest route, but you can't simply toss them in the garbage. Cables may contain hazardous materials like mercury and hexavalent chromium that can be dangerous in a landfill. In fact, in some areas there may even be restrictions on how you can dispose of computer cables. Search for e-cycling options in your area to find the safest and most convenient option for disposal. Some retailers accept old equipment and peripherals, including cables. Best Buy accepts cables, along with other types of electronics, but you will be limited to three items per day. At the very least, ask coworkers to check with their friends and family members to see if anyone might need Ethernet cables for their own home or business technology.


If sections of your network cabling are worn out but some of it is still in good working condition, consider removing sections to create smaller cables for use in your server rooms, data closets, and workspaces. You can save money by reusing existing cables rather than purchasing new ones. You can also create new types of cable out of the old cables you're offloading. If you're feeling especially creative, you can turn your old cables into an arts and crafts project and mold them into something like jewelry or household items.

Cable management is an important part of managing a data center. The process extends to the decommissioning process, requiring crafty professionals to ensure they're disposed of properly. With so many electronics recycling options now available, technicians can easily get rid of cables they're no longer using. But it's important to first ensure they can't be repurposed either within the same data center or in another organization.

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