How to Recycle Your Business E-Waste
Business e-waste is rapidly becoming a major problem in the world. Almost every office contains electronic devices like laptops, cell phones, computer monitors, LED bulbs, etc., leading to millions of electronic devices being dumped in landfills—contributing to the world’s ever-increasing pollution.
What is E-Waste
E-waste definition: e-waste is a comprehensive term used to describe electronic products that are unwanted, broken, obsolete, and/or approaching their “end-of-life.” This would include computers, laptops, printers, data racks, copiers, fax machines, telephones, cellphones, and other electronic devices.
Why Is E-waste a Problem?
Compared to plastic, hazardous gases, water pollution, and oil spills, we have tended to overlook our business e-waste as a potential source of pollution but the reality is that it makes a significant contribution to the damage inflicted on the environment.
This is now being recognized by the states in the US, with twenty-five states of them, including the District of Columbia, currently having electronics recycling programs to ensure the safe disposal and management of the million tons of e-waste generated annually. However, rather than utilizing the services of responsible domestic recyclers, a large amount of this unwanted electronic equipment is shipped from the United States to developing countries, increasing the chances of unsafe handling and improper disposition. Specifically, acid baths and open-air burning are often practiced to obtain precious metals from electronic waste, exposing workers and the environment to toxic materials, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and even arsenic.
How to Recycle Your Business’s E-waste?
It is the responsibility of business owners to support proper electronic recycling, and there are many ways that companies can handle their outdated and obsolete equipment.
On-site Drop-Off Centers
Establishing a drop-off center on the company’s site is an easily-accessible solution to encourage employees to participate in the responsible recycling of electronic devices. This creates opportunities to collect all the unusable and broken office equipment in a single place and then to ensure it is properly recycled.
Repair Electronics Instead of Throwing Them Away
The IT department can be crucial in evaluating whether the old electronics can be repaired and reused as well as how much it would cost. If a simple solution like upgrading the hard drive or installing modern software can fix the electronic devices, then it can considerably lower the amount of e-waste requiring disposal.
Upcycle the Old Electronic Equipment
Partnering with companies that will upcycle old electronics can help to reuse office equipment without contributing to e-waste. After securely destroying all information from hard drives and memory devices, business owners can ask local companies to recycle any residual electronic waste.
Do Not Let Electronics Become a Waste in the First Place
By purchasing electronic equipment from brands with the lowest return rates, business owners can become more mindful of buying electronics that will not malfunction or need repair quickly. Training employees to be careful in handling electronic equipment can also prolong its useful life and delay the time when it becomes unusable.
Partnering With an E-waste Recycling Facility
To ensure that old electronic devices are properly recycled, companies can partner with e-waste recycling facilities, which offer convenient pickup services or drop-off locations. When selecting a recycler it I important to ensure that they are working to industry best practices, such as those described by the R2 (Responsible Recycling) standard.
Donate Old Electronics
Companies usually need to purchase new, more up-to-date office equipment every few years, but that doesn’t mean that old electronics should be thrown away. Donating those electronic devices to under-financed schools, or organizations in need, is an excellent contribution to reducing electronic waste. It can also provide a tax write-off.
No matter how big or small a business is, responsible recycling of e-waste is vital for environmental sustainability. Every business owner should commit to implementing business strategies to ensure the safe disposal of electronic equipment.
If companies consider their old electronics reusable and recyclable and introduce recycling initiatives to the employees, the amount of global e-waste can be significantly reduced.
For information on how Potomac eCycle can help to dispose of your old electronics safely and responsibly, contact us.