E-waste (electronic waste) possesses both potential value and harm for companies that wish to dispose of their obsolete, broken, or irreparable electronic devices. Companies may be able to resell their E-waste, and many states offer donation programs that benefit schools and nonprofits for tax breaks for reusable electronics. But if your electronics cannot be reused, or if reuse is not an option for your company because of data security, recycling is a good option that can increase your business’s good reputation and improve the environment while saving you money.
What are the benefits of recycling my company’s E-waste?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), E-waste is the fastest growing category of solid waste in the U.S. They estimate that in 2009, the U.S. generated 2.37 million tons of E-waste. Of that amount, 75 percent was disposed of in landfills or incinerated.
Why is this problematic? Because electronics can contain hazardous materials, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals that can harm human health and the environment if disposed of improperly. It can also have a devastating impact to your company’s bottom line if you are fined for being in noncompliance. Because of how fast-paced technology innovations are in a given year, the problem of E-waste is a growing global concern. The EPA and partner countries are working together to stop a growing trend of developed countries sending their E-waste to developing countries that lack the capacity to reject imports or handle E-waste appropriately. If electronics are illegally dumped or sent overseas to unregulated recyclers, toxic materials can get into the soil, air and water, and workers can be hurt or injured. As the EPA works toward enforcing more sustainable solutions for E-waste, companies would do well to take measures to develop E-waste recycling programs. In fact, in states like Wisconsin, electronics recycling laws (2009 Wisconsin Act 50), completely ban electronics like TVs, computers and cell phones from Wisconsin landfills and incinerators. These laws keep millions of electronics out of landfills.
In addition to following federal, state and local regulations (and avoiding fines for failing to do so), companies can realize many benefits from working with a reliable recycling partner for their E-waste. Companies like Samsung have improved their business reputation through their E-waste recycling efforts. Electronics also contain valuable materials, like aluminum, glass and plastic that can be recovered and sold or reused. Companies can also be sure to protect their proprietary and confidential data by working with a reliable recycler like Enviro-Safe Resource Recovery to securely recycle their electronic devices.
How can my company find a reliable E-waste recycling partner?
Experts like Enviro-Safe can manage E-Waste, Universal Waste, Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste for recycling, rather than sending them to landfills or incinerators. Our state-of-the-art facility can handle many kinds of waste in ways that go above and beyond safety standards. We can also provide you with the best transportation options including picking up all your wastes at the same time (based on compatibles waste) eliminating multiple pick-up fees and suiting your needs instead of ours. We work closely with our clients to make sure we meet your needs while being in compliance with local, state and federal regulations.
If you do not already have an E-waste recycling program in place, the Wisconsin DNR recommends asking your recycling partner these questions:
- Do you accept all electronic items?
- What do you charge? (Remember that cost should be weighed together with expertise since the cost of cleanup due to an inexperienced recycler will become your responsibility).
- Do you pick up the items at our location?
- How do you destroy data?
- What do you do with the electronics you collect?
- What steps do you take to ensure worker and environmental safety?
In addition to these questions, we recommend you keep up-to-date documentation for transactions with anyone handling your E-waste. This documentation will help protect you if the electronics are later found to have been mishandled (for example, illegally dumped or sent to a landfill).
Keep in mind that not all recyclers take all types of electronics. Some, like Enviro-Safe, have vast environmental performance and experience that you can trust. At Enviro-Safe Resource Recovery, we are dedicated to the careful stewardship of your waste and our environment. Our specialists work with you to keep harmful material out of landfills, prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands and ultimately help protect your bottom line from noncompliance fines. Even if you are happy with your recycler, it is possible you could be missing more opportunities to turn your E-waste into profit. To learn more about your options for handling E-waste, contact us today.