What do you do with all of those ink toner cartridges that your office uses each day? How about all of the paper that is tossed out after being looked at for just a few seconds? Now, what do you do with all of the dead batteries from different gadgets around the office? I created this blog to help other businesses find methods of recycling the many recyclable materials that come in and out of the office in a day. It is my hope that knowing what can be done with these things will help keep them out of the landfill.
Electronic products have become a critical part of life, allowing people to perform feats only imagined in centuries prior. Unfortunately, the side effect of the high consumption of electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, is the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 1.87 million tons of electronics were trashed in 2013. Here are a few reasons why you should make an effort to recycle electronics in your business and two ways to do it.
Reasons to E-Cycle
Possibly the primary reason to start an electronics recycling program in your business is the benefits to the environment. As noted previously, a lot of electronic waste ends up in landfills. As the components in these products degrade, they often emit potentially toxic substances that can seep into the air and ground water.
For example, barium is present in CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors, which can cause damage to the heart, liver, and brain in people exposed to it. Motherboards contain a carcinogen called berylllium that cause lung disease if inhaled. Keeping these and other electronic components out of landfills can minimize the impact these toxic substances have on people, animals, plants, and the Earth.
Another major reason to recycle your electronics is security. Many companies place their old computers, phones, tablets, and other electronics in storage thinking they will deal with these extinct products at another time. However, leaving these products in a storeroom onsite or even locked in a unit at a storage facility puts your company at risk of a security breach, especially if you don't take the time to wipe the electronics clean of data prior to storing them.
A person could break into the storage area, take the computers, and use the information he or she manages to download from the system in various nefarious ways such as executing a data breach or selling company secrets to competitors. Cleaning the electronics of valuable information and then recycling them eliminates this type of risk.
Lastly, recycling electronics can have a positive effect on the bottom line. In addition to eliminating the cost associated with storing and securing the items, you could actually make money by selling newer models of electronics to companies that specialize in reselling used or refurbished products. This may help you recoup some of the money you invested purchasing the electronics in the first place.
Two Ways to Recycle Electronics
Recycling electronics doesn't have to be difficult. There are two easy ways to do it. The first way is to hire a commercial waste company to assist you with collecting and removing the products. You can have the company do the work for you, which typically consists of them coming to your business, packing up the unwanted items, and hauling them away. Alternatively, you can have the company leave a bin onsite that you fill at your leisure and call the waste removal company to pick up the bin when you're ready.
This option is probably best for companies that deal with a high volume of electronic waste or during those times when your business upgrades to newer electronic products.
The other option is to take part in a mail back program. Typically, the waste management company will provide you with prepaid, pre-addressed boxes that you can put your electronic items in and ship to the waste facility at your convenience. This choice is good for companies that handle smaller volumes of electronic waste or replace electronics at irregular times (e.g. when an employee breaks a phone).
For more information on recycling electronics or assistance setting up a program, contact a commercial waste removal company in your area.