E-waste or electronic waste is a general term for electronic devices that need to be disposed. While it certainly applies to the average computers or smartphones users, businesses can also produce a large amount of e-waste – and they aren’t always sure how to deal with it. Offices especially, can generate lots of e-waste when they upgrade their computer systems or replace current hardware with new technology: What should they do with it?
Here are some of the most effective ways for businesses to utilize electronic recycling, stay environmentally responsible, and quickly get rid of e-waste before it becomes a problem.
Researching Programs and Partners in Your Area
If your company doesn’t have any experience in recycling e-waste, we’ve got you covered: There’s usually many local resources that can help out! Look up your city and state’s recycling programs to see what is offered. Many areas offer special advice or buyback programs focused on businesses moving a large amount of electronics. Think about partnering with an experience e-waste recycling company that help take care of the details and manage any potential problems well ahead of time, especially if you expect ongoing recycling needs.
Analyzing Recycling Companies
If a business needs to use a third-party recycling company to take care of their electronics, it’s crucial to do research, look into the recycler’s reputation, and ask about certifications and experience. Some “recyclers” don’t really recycle. Some ship waste overseas for poor disposal or burning. Asking about their process and certifications (like the ROIS certification) is a great way to pick a company that knows what they are doing. You can also ask about any special business fees or other ways to save money.
Be Aware of Changing Laws
Did you know that e-waste recycling laws can vary by state? They continue to evolve year after year, and it’s particularly important for businesses to keep up. Currently around 25 states have laws for recycling electronics, with others considering new legislation. These laws may come with associated fees and fines for not following it, but also contains valuable tools and resources that businesses can use, so it’s well worth the research.
Many states have structured their electronic waste programs with the responsibility focused on the manufacturer instead of the buyer. This means that recycling may be as easy as getting in touch with the manufacturer of your electronic products and asking about their recycling program. This a great step to take even if you aren’t sure what your state’s laws require.
Scaling E-Waste Recycling Up
Keep in mind that your company’s electronic recycling needs can also change over time, especially as you grow. Many smaller companies may be able to deal with e-waste by having an employee run old electronics over to a recycling center. However, as a business grows and expands, offices filled with old electronics require a new approach.
Work on solutions that are easy to scale as your business grows, like city-based programs, e-waste dumpsters for big transitions, and more. Many cities also hold “collection days” with free pickup or other benefits that make it easy to recycle a large amount of e-waste at once.
Take Care of Sensitive Data
Recycling means dealing with storage devices, and those devices may have sensitive information about the business or its customers. Even if you fully wipe a hard drive there are still ways of recovering data on it. Unproper disposal can be dangerous and affect privacy regulations. But what is a business supposed to do with devices with onboard storage?
Look for a company that offers data destruction as part of its e-waste recycling services. This usually means that hard drives are carefully shredded (yes, with a big blender) or otherwise destroyed until they cannot be reassembled to look for data. This ensures that information remains protected no matter what you choose to recycle. Your business may also prefer to separate out all storage devices for shredding ahead of time to make e-waste management easier, depending on the situation.
Reduce Future E-Waste
There are many ways for companies to reduce the amount of e-waste they produce, even busy offices. This can reduce any recycling costs and help the environment. Best of all, simple technology upgrades can often make the biggest difference. Moving a company over to more cloud-oriented solutions with data managed on server farms instead of local devices is a great way to save on e-waste while also creating a more flexible work environment. So is using VoIP communication that requires less phone hardware, switching to a central printer/scanner instead of individual models, and choosing electronics that are easier to upgrade or add to rather than just throw away.
For more information on electronic recycling opportunities, you can explore Stream Recycling’s services and find out how we can partner with your organization today!