Principles of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) focus on the duty of all businesses to operate in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. To assist businesses with determining where their responsibilities lie regarding waste reduction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides details about toxic waste generated by various industries:
- Construction: used oil containing lead, chromium and cadmium; solvents; methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and benzene in asphalt wastes.
- Furniture manufacturers: petroleum distillates, xylene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Trucking and railroad: batteries (iron, nickel, lead acid); used tires; hazardous waste residual; volatile organic emissions and ethyl benzene.
- Printers/Printing Companies: waste ink containing lead, barium and chromium; methanol; MEK; benzene and chlorobenzene.
- Textile manufacturing: methylene chloride; toluene; benzene, MEK and xylene.
- Auto repair/vehicle maintenance: used oil; antifreeze; petroleum distillates; methanol; benzene and used paint thinners.
This is not an exhaustive list of chemical and air particulate waste produced by these companies. However, all chemicals are toxic and dangerous to human and animal health if they are disposed of improperly.
Adherence to Corporate Environmental Responsibility precepts by electronic device manufacturers is probably the most important responsibility these types of companies have today. Although rates of computer recycling and reuse and repair of obsolete electronics are steadily rising, the global amount of ewaste continues to be unacceptable and destructive.
Additionally, businesses and manufacturing facilities must take rapid and sustained responsibility for proper disposal of toxins and ewaste to reduce the severity of a possible global environmental disaster.
Principles of CER: What Your Business Can Start Doing Today to Save the Planet
Adopting Carbon Neutral Practices
Burning fossil fuels for energy, driving gas-field cars, constructing new buildings and roads–just about everything we do produces a greenhouse gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). While CO2 is essential to life on Earth, too much of it can have the opposite effect. Climate change and the increasing frequency of hurricanes, droughts and floods is a direct cause of excess CO2 depleting the ozone layer that protects our planet from ultraviolet radiation.
A “carbon neutral” business is one that has significantly reduced or eliminated their carbon footprint. For example, Google transformed itself into a carbon-neutral company over a decade ago and now says it has compensated for the amount of carbon dioxide it once created. Google achieved this by relying on renewable energy extracted from solar, wind and geothermal resources. Their goal is to operate all offices and data centers on carbon-free energy within the next decade.
Eco-friendly Supply Chains
Businesses adopting CER principles can modify their supply chain to include mostly (or all) environmentally-friendly products. Green supply chains incorporate eco-friendly practices into logistics, materials and other aspects of their supply chain management. Transparency is another hallmark of a green supply chain. Businesses that want to be more environmentally responsible should find supply chain owners who provide information about their logistical practices and origin of goods provided.
Gaining in popularity with CER-supported companies are circular supply chains offering products that have been recycled or repaired for reuse. A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of all supply chain leaders are planning to contribute to a more circular economy by going green.
Actively Conserving Energy and Water Usage
Companies can take some simple steps to improve environmental responsibility, such as:
- Regularly assessing and upgrading their water supply system
- Investing in leak-sensoring devices that detect leaks within hours of occurring
- Replacing old air conditioners with energy-efficient (EnergyStar) units
- Using aerated faucets to decrease water flow
- Investing in water-recycling equipment
- Using only LED light fixtures
- Turning off computers at the end of the day. They use much less energy than computers that are “asleep”
- Installing skylights where practical to reduce light usage
- Investing in solar panels or other renewable energy source
Industrial facilities can learn more about improving energy efficiency and equipment rebates by visiting Energystar.gov.
For all your company’s computer recycling needs, contact Potomac eCycle today.