Go into any office nowadays, and you’re bound to see electronic devices —from computers and cell phones to copy machines and networking equipment—being used for all sorts of day-to-day activities.
But once those electronics become obsolete and need to be disposed of, you would be surprised to find out where a lot of those old electronics end up. Oftentimes, because of rapid advances in technology and planned obsolescence, old electronics just end up piled up in a storage room or warehouse—or, worse, in a landfill (many times overseas).
Regulations are in place to prevent the illegal dumping of used electronic equipment. But as any smart businessperson knows, e-waste recycling ultimately comes down to taking responsibility for your own organization’s actions and making sure that all e-waste is disposed of properly.
In the past, when e-waste was still a novel concept, it might have been easier to get caught up in some of the myths about e-waste recycling. But with proven methods in place that make electronic waste recycling more manageable for consumers and businesses, there is no reason why our society’s zero waste goals can’t be achieved in this generation.
Here is a closer look at some of these misconceptions and the truth behind them.
Myth: It’s impossible to avoid the landfill.
Fact: Recycling technology has advanced way more than what we think, so it is possible to recycle much more today.
Also, not all e-waste has to end up in landfills. Take, for example, what we’ve done at Surplus Service. One of our clients has over 400 global locations and needed a better solution for managing all the e-waste generated in its many offices. The client didn’t have a streamlined process for handling the disposal of electronics, so it was becoming a huge problem.
Using our UpcyclIT® system, which makes use of upcycling—a reuse alternative to recycling destruction—we were able to successfully divert 100% of that company’s e-waste from the landfill.
Myth: Only old TVs and computers can be recycled.
Fact: You can recycle computers, monitors, cell phones, servers, switches, test equipment, lab equipment, medical imaging equipment, fiber optics, networking devices and more.
A good rule of thumb is to check with a website like CalRecycle.CA.gov or RecycleWhere.org to find a certified e-recycler that can dispose of all types of electronics in accordance with the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003.
Myth: It’s better to recycle and shred e-waste than go through the process of refurbishing and reusing it.
Fact: When you’re done with a piece of electronic equipment, you don’t have to necessarily shred it or have it broken down. Many electronic devices—from servers to CT scanners—can still be refurbished, repaired and reused even though they might have been deemed obsolete.
In fact, there are many small companies in the U.S. and overseas in the secondary market that would greatly benefit from a larger organization’s surplus electronics.
Having a good asset management plan will also ensure that there is no data breach for your organization and the refurbished electronics meet the established standards of the industry.
Myth: There is nothing you can do to prevent e-waste from being exported overseas to countries with weak environmental regulations.
Fact: You can control how your organization handles e-waste. With the right policies and education of personnel, your e-waste doesn’t have to be exported at all.
By incorporating zero waste reporting into your e-waste recycling procedures, you can even track exactly where your used electronics go when they leave your facility so there will be no doubt that your organization’s reputation can be maintained.
Myth: Getting rid of e-waste is a hassle.
Fact: E-waste disposal is actually pretty simple, provided you have the right knowledge and a reliable partner. There are simple steps that each organization—large or small—can take to make sure that you’re doing your part to meet your sustainability goals and reduce your liability.
According to the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, “smart ITAD programs can further save companies money and gain tax benefits by depreciating and amortizing their older assets over time.”
In all, e-waste disposal is not just about recycling. It’s also about keeping up with environmental regulations and helping your business’s bottom line, which should be a win-win for everyone.
Surplus Service is a San Francisco, CA Bay Area-based award-winning e-waste management business that specializes in ITAD, medical recycling, electronic liquidation, reverse logistics and data eradication. As the No. 1 electronic reuse and recycling leader, our goal is to provide eco-friendly solutions that lead to the reuse of electronics rather than just having them recycled or end up in a landfill. To learn more about us, call one of our e-waste recycling specialists at (510) 226-0600 or email us at Info@SurplusService.com.