Did you know that electronics account for 70% of toxic waste in the United States? That’s a pretty big yikes!
Over the past three decades, the global market for electronics and electrical equipment has continued to grow at a seemingly exponential rate. However, the lifespan of our gadgets is getting shorter and shorter. Meaning that now, E-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the U.S., according to the EPA.
Without a solution to this creeping toxic problem, we will soon be swimming in a sea of wires, circuit boards, semiconductors, switches, and the like. Unfortunately, this looming waste problem isn’t common knowledge, and people and businesses are innocently disposing of e-waste incorrectly.
They’ve provided four easy tips for reducing your company’s electronic waste so that you can start being a part of the solution!
Tip #1 Embrace the Magic of Cloud Services
A simple solution to a big problem. By embracing cloud services, you can make a dramatic dent in the amount of electronic equipment your company uses. The less electronics you need means the fewer carbon emissions you produce, and the smaller your environmental footprint is.
According to an article on Agile IT, larger companies using cloud computing can reduce their per-user carbon footprint by 30%, while smaller companies can reduce theirs by a whopping 90%.
Today, around 96% of companies cloud computing in some form according to CIO, a tech and IT-related magazine, and around 87% of enterprises use a hybrid cloud strategy, according to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report.
Not only does cloud storage reduce the number of physical devices you need, like servers and circuit boards, but it’s also easier to maintain and doesn’t require a specialized IT team!
What’s more? Cloud services make hiring remote workers easier, and in today’s world, that’s a pretty big bonus. As more companies are shifting to embrace flexible solutions for employees, cloud-based systems provide a safe solution since they can be accessed from anywhere across the globe.
Tip #2 Donate, Donate, Donate
So your company’s electronics are in perfect working condition, but you need to replace them with updated models so that your company can do it’s best to work. Now you have an abundance of electronics you need to get rid of, what now?
Donate! Donations provide an opportunity to help others in need, and it keeps devices out of landfills. It’s a win-win situation for all. There are several wonderful organizations in the U.S. that accept donated electronics, like TechSoup, a company that refurbishes electronic products and gives them to nonprofit organizations that help those in need!
Another amazing organization is the World Computer Exchange (WCE). By providing computers with educational content and training, WCE empowers schools in developing countries to maximize technology use as they face the challenges of distance learning. When you donate to WCE, you are directly impacting and bettering the lives of people all over the world.
When you choose to donate, be sure to wipe the devices of all company data. Keep in mind that deleting files doesn’t necessarily remove the data from viewing, so if you are unsure of how to effectively remove company data from your electronics, enlist the help of a computer professional who can ensure your drives are cleaned off in order to protect your company from data thieves!
Tip #3 Recycling Programs with Great Benefits
If donating doesn’t appeal to you, check with the manufacturers for a recycling program before resorting to the dumpster!
Many manufacturers like Toshiba and Apple offer product discounts for returning devices you no longer use, and those discounts can be applied to future purchases with the manufacturer. At Apple, if the devices have resale value, they will either send you a gift card or properly recycle the e-waste for free after wiping all of your information.
Many companies like Dell and BlackBerry will handle the pickup of the e-waste or allow you to download free pre-paid mailing labels as well.
Manufacturers with recycling programs are equipped with the knowledge and skills to disassemble devices and reuse components and safely discard environmentally hazardous e-waste.
TIP #4 Properly Dispose of E-Waste & Avoid Health Hazards
Toxic materials like lead, zinc, nickel, flame retardants, barium, and chromium can all be found in computers and most electronics. If released into the environment, these harsh materials can wreak havoc to human (and animal) kidneys, blood, and even the central and peripheral nervous system. That’s a pretty big consequence for a seemingly frivolous act.
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.
When you donate or recycle your old electronic devices it saves the air and water from pollution. The United States environmental protection agency says that recycling one million laptops can save the energy equivalent to the electricity that is used in 1 year by over 3,500 homes.
If you have a steady stream of e-waste at your facility, a professional hazardous waste disposal company can help you set up a regular schedule for disposal, providing you with peace of mind that your e-waste is being disposed of responsibly and safely.