How Businesses Dispose of Electronic Waste
E-waste is a growing problem in the United States. As the shelf life of electronics decreases and we are buying more and more gadgets and products, e-waste is piling up in landfills when it is disposed of improperly. In landfills, the toxics in the metals emit harmful gases and get sucked in to the soil, causing problems for the environment and human beings. Electronic waste and how to manage it can be a serious problem for business owners. How businesses dispose of electronic waste depends on the type of business and the area. In the United States, businesses are regulated state-wide and federally and must follow all of the regulations in their state regarding proper disposal of unwanted electronics.
When it comes to e-waste disposal, there are four choices as to what to do with it. You can throw it out, recycle it, sell it or donate it. Typically businesses should donate equipment to an organization in need so that it can be reused – for example, non-profits, schools and churches, or recycle it. If they do not choose to recycle or reuse, businesses that want to dispose of electronics must follow regulations governing hazardous waste or prove that the electronic equipment is not harmful.
If you own a company and are looking into how businesses dispose of electronic waste, try to recycle. There are many companies that provide the service of recycling unwanted electronic equipment.
These are good questions to ask if you are choosing a recycler:
- Does the recycler take care of hard drive wiping and data destruction?
- What certifications does the vendor have?
- How is the material taken care of? How will the vendor handle all of the demanufacture and final disposal of all the components and harmful materials? Will any equipment\ be exported?
- How long has the vendor been in business? Can they provide references?
How Businesses Dispose of Electronic Waste Should Be A Concern if You Own One:
Mismanaging electronics can turn out to be a liability for your business. If it chooses a collector that manages or disposes of electronics improperly, the business may be liable for the cleanup because they generated the waste. Businesses should put a lot of thought into who they choose to collect their electronics. How businesses dispose of electronic waste will vary according to their size and area. Larger companies tend to handle electronic waste disposal in-house, while smaller companies rely on local vendors and recyclers for direction. The main takeaway here is that if you do not handle your ewaste disposal properly you could be putting your business at risk.
Electronic waste is not a problem that will be going away any time soon. In fact, it is expected to get worse. “300 million computers and 1 BILLION cell phones are put into production each year. This global mountain of waste is expected to continue growing 8% per year, indefinitely. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators.” Taking the time to properly research how business recycle electronic waste is a good step in the right direction.