Nearly two in five (39 percent) of UK firms fail to wipe data from their unwanted PCs, Computer Aid International has revealed.

The IT charity revealed its second set of findings regarding IT equipment disposal from research conducted by Vanson Bourne. More than two thirds (68 percent) of UK firms admitting data security is their biggest concerning when disposing of old IT equipment.

Furthermore, only 43 per cent of senior IT decision makers said they were able to account for all their decommissioned PCs. Computer Aid International revealed an estimated 75 percent of e-waste generated in the EU - about eight million tonnes a year – remains unaccounted for because its either sent to landfills, substandard treatment facilities or illegally exported.

Meanwhile, a third of firms admitted they have decommissioned computers containing data which are completely unaccounted for.

"This research shows that current IT decommissioning practices in many companies seem to be resulting in every IT manager's worst nightmare – hundreds of thousands of redundant PCs containing sensitive corporate data, completely unaccounted for. By not disposing of their IT properly, companies risk huge financial, legal and reputational costs and can cause severe damage to people and the environment," said Anja French, director of communications at Computer Aid

"Improving IT decommissioning procedures is essential. Every IT manager must ensure that all their company's unwanted equipment is data wiped to CESG approved standards and that they receive fully documented waste streams from their IT disposal service providers. These are essential steps in the decommissioning process and companies cannot afford the risks associated with not taking them."

Computer Aid International's first set of research revealed one in five senior IT staff are "not confident" that none of their old PC's end up in landfill.