As a company owner, remaining compliant with the regulations of your state regarding e-waste recycling is absolutely essential. Given that the U.S. produces the most substantial amount of e-waste in the world, many state governments have enacted strict laws to regulate how old and redundant gadgets are disposed of. By having a waste management company by your side, you wouldn’t have to worry about these regulations, as they are aware of all the waste management laws. For instance, if you rent a dumpster, make sure you select a company that meets your business needs and budget while being responsible with the environment.
In your business workplace, you probably have a range of the latest hardware and software to offer efficient and speedy services to your vendors and customers. You may also need electronic equipment for the smooth running of your company operations especially if you provide digital services of any kind. But, the issue with electronics is that you need to upgrade them regularly to match the latest software and tools being developed by companies. Like Scientific American explains, it is becoming common knowledge that manufacturers stop supporting their equipment after a time because of which consumers must invest in their latest offerings.
Even as you upgrade to new equipment to remain compatible with your customers’ devices, you need to implement responsible e-waste recycling practices and dispose of the old gadgets the right way. In this way, you can ensure that the usable materials in the old electronics are recycled without polluting the environment.
Here are some of the steps you need to take.
1. Contact a Certified Company for E-Waste Recycling
You may come across several agencies that claim to manage old gadgets responsibly. But, it is advisable that you look for an agency that has government certification and uses approved protocols. Should you choose the services for processing equipment at the end of its lifecycle at All Green, you can rest assured that the expert professionals will use the most advanced processes to break down the devices without releasing toxic metals and other materials into the air, ground, or water bodies. Above all, you’ll ensure that the e-waste is not exported to third world countries. Environmentalists are raising concerns that close to 75% of the e-waste in the U.S. ends up in third world countries where it is recycled using the worst methods that cause severe damage to the environment.
One of the most critical e-waste recycling solutions you need is for safeguarding the data saved in your devices. A licensed company will protect you by shredding the hard drives in the gadgets including laptops, PCs, cellphones, copiers, servers, tablets, and various others. After the hard drives are reduced to shards, the debris is dispatched to recycling plants that melt it down to its alloy state for reuse.
Authorized recycling companies offer you pick-up services and on-site IT asset destruction. You’ll also receive a certificate that carries the serial number of each gadget to keep your business indemnified. In case of any data breaches, this certificate will keep your company protected against potential lawsuits.
2. Repair and Reuse Your Old Gadgets
In place of replacing each device in the company workplace when it breaks down, you could contact expert mechanics who can repair them for you. Repair and reuse each gadget to get the maximum utility out of it. You’ll put off the expense of buying new machines until it is absolutely necessary and prevent a still-usable machine from ending up in the e-waste recycling pile. By taking this simple step, you will avoid adding to the 43 million tons of e-waste that the United Nations expects will be generated across the world in 2018.
3. Minimize the Use of Electronics
Work with your IT hardware team to find new uses for the devices you have lying around the premises. Have strict protocols in place when it comes to the purchase and disposal of electronic equipment. For instance, memory sticks can be used and reused several times over in a range of gadgets. As far as possible, store data on the cloud to lower the need for portable storage devices. Check if you can upgrade the software in existing equipment in place of getting new machines. Buy new cords, cables, and wires only if you cannot use the ones from old gadgets. Instill a work culture of eco-friendliness and frugality, so your employees are encouraged to duplicate the principles in their personal lives as well.
4. Consider Exchanging Old Electronics
Electronics manufacturer Dell recently announced that the company has banned the movement of e-waste to developing countries. Like this announcement on ABCNews reveals, Dell has now instituted a clearly outlined policy about how its consumer and business e-waste recycling programs are expected to handle the 290 million pounds of used electronics. This move has been made to comply with the regulations of the Basel Convention, the global treaty that tracks the movement of toxic e-waste across international borders. To support the eco-friendly efforts of companies like Dell, you could consider buying its products and availing of its buyback offers when investing in new equipment.
5. Donate Old Electronics to Charitable Organizations
As long as your old gadgets are in working order, you could consider donating them to schools, colleges, and any other charitable communities like “Cellphones for Soldiers” where they can continue to be used. You can also contact any of the online resources like Gazelle, Craigslist, eBay, and Glyde to name a scarce few. Also, check around for local Goodwill and secondhand stores that will accept used gadgets.
However, you may want to replace the hard drives with new ones. Make sure that the gadgets don’t have any saved data that can fall into the hands of hackers and result in data breaches. Your IT team or a licensed data disposal company can assist you with the wiping and/or shredding of the hard drives.
Even as technology continues to expand and evolve at breakneck speed so does the growth in the mountains of used and discarded electronics around the world. As a responsible company owner, you can do your bit and adopt the necessary e-waste recycling practices. Your consumers and partners are sure to appreciate your efforts and assist you by supporting your business, and, in turn, protecting the environment.