Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs an Electronics Recycling Plan
It’s often said that change is the only constant in business. That’s especially true when it comes to technology. No matter what industry you’re in, keeping current with the latest technology is critical to staying competitive. Adding new technology, however, often means the disposal of old computers and devices. In many companies, bulky desktops have given way to laptops and tablets. Companies that have a large number of remote and field employees may go through cell phones on a regular basis.
Correctly disposing of old technology is just as important as adding new technology. Old computers, tablets, and phones carry sensitive information about your employees, your business and your customers. They also carry toxic metals that could pollute the air, ground, and water if they end up in a landfill.
Electronic waste is a growing problem. According to a United Nations report on electronic waste, the United States disposed of over 9 million pounds of electronics in 2012. That number is expected to grow by 33 percent by 2017. The report suggests that companies can do their part in reducing that number by recycling all old electronics.
Here are five more good reasons why you should consult with an electronics recycler:
1) To protect your sensitive business information. Trashed electronics may end up in a landfill, where they’ll simply be destroyed or left to rot. However, they may also be shipped to a Third World country, where every part is picked apart and sold on a black market. That includes the hard drive with all of your sensitive information. An R2-certified electronics recycler is committed to following rigorous standards when it comes to deleting hard drives and protecting your data.
2) To protect your employees. Your company data isn’t the only data at risk. Many employees treat their company devices like their personal ones, saving personal information and passwords to the device’s hard drive. By simply disposing of a device through the trash, you’re leaving your employees vulnerable to identity theft should the hard drive fall into the wrong hands.
3) To save time. An electronics recycler will come to your location to package and pick up old electronics. They’ll also audit the devices and provide you with a record so that you can keep track of every device and ensure that they’ve been destroyed. The recycler can also customize the program to your needs so you can outsource the disposal work to them and allow your employees to focus on their core responsibilities.
4) To protect the environment and your community. Electronics contain toxic metals like mercury, cadmium, lead, and copper. When left in landfills, those metals can seep into the air, soil, and nearby water flow. With enough exposure, they can lead to developmental problems in children, lung and kidney disease, and various types of cancers. An R2-certified recycler follows a strict set of procedures on managing those metals and recycling them responsibly so they aren’t left to pollute the environment.
5) To enhance your corporate brand and image. You probably take great care to manage your reputation in other parts of your business. If you’re like other successful companies, you treat your employees well, give back to your community, and provide high-quality service and products to your customers. Electronic waste responsibility is just another component of maintaining your corporate image.
The best part about an electronic waste recycling plan is that the recycling company will do almost all the work for you. They’ll pick up the electronics at your location, audit the devices for your records, and customize their schedule and recycling plan to fit your needs. Look for the R2 certification when searching for a recycler. That certification means the company is EPA-endorsed for meeting the highest standards in environmental responsibility and data management.
Adam Dumes is the Director of Electronics Recycling at Cohen Recycling. Since 1924 Cohen Recycling has been working to create a more sustainable environment for us all. Now an R2 certified recycling company, Cohen is expanding their efforts beyond metal recycling to also include the recycling of electronics. Adam concentrates his efforts in trying to mitigate the fastest growing waste stream in the world, electronics recycling, as nearly 50 million metric tons of electronics are thrown away each year, many of which contain lead, cadmium, mercury and other hazardous materials that pollute the air, contaminate soil and leach into water supplies.