American businesses spend millions and millions of dollars on the latest equipment and tools, while we as individuals stand in line for hours to get the latest phones, tablets and consoles. We consistently replace our electronics with the latest version, feeding a cycle that creates massive amounts of electronic waste, and it’s harming our health.
The longer we leave this untreated and the more we turn a blind eye toward our role in how to reduce the amount of e-waste we generate, the more likely we are to harm the environment and impact the lifespan and quality of life of people all over the world.
Today, we want to discuss how to recycle technology and what you can do to minimize your business’s role in e-waste.
Discover the Impact of Human E-Waste
There was more than 41.8 million tons of e-waste generated in 2014, and the United Nations estimates that up to 90% of it is illegally traded or dumped. This means people are throwing it away with regular trash, or companies that claim to be recyclers are only taking the scrap and dumping the rest where enforcement is lax.
Mountains of electronic waste end up shipped to small villages and towns in some of the poorest places in the world, where local citizens try to make money by scrapping components as the electronic waste poisons their water, air and bodies.
It is possible to reclaim gold, copper and other precious materials from electronics safely and in a way, that protects the environment, but it’s costly, and most countries do not have the infrastructure for it. Our job is to ensure we learn how to recycle old technology safely and vet the partners we use for recycling and reclamation.
Learn more with this latest report on the growth of e-waste and how reducing the electronic waste problem is a cause for the entire world.
Recycling Reduces Electronic Waste Problems
Let’s be direct: Electronic waste is toxic waste. In America, this e-waste makes up less than 2% of all the waste in our landfills, but it makes up more than 70% of our toxic waste. Ditch the ideas of toxic sludge in barrels — it’s PCs, routers, switches, CMTS and many other pieces of equipment we turn to each day.
Think about all the equipment you have on your network, and then consider this. Upwards of 85% of all electronics are sent to landfills or put into industrial incinerators, releasing toxins and poisons into the air or having them leach into the ground.
Every company must learn how to recycle old technology to avoid this growing problem — and, it’s up to us to work together to do it. If you leave your old electronics on the curb or toss them in your dumpster, they’re just going to head to a landfill.
Your city, county or state likely have local services that can help you understand the best way how to recycle technology waste.
If you have something that could still work, your best bet to reduce e-waste could actually be donating it or selling it to someone who will refurbish it. This process isn’t often listed when people talk about how to reduce the amount of e-waste we have as a country, but it can have a significant impact by preventing tons of electronics from heading to landfills each year.
Sometimes that is as easy as donating computers, laptops and smartphones to local non-profits, such as those that provide devices or Internet access to victims of domestic violence, children or the homeless.
Buy Used, Lease or Trade In
In most instances, we don’t need to upgrade to the latest piece of technology as soon as it is available. Not only does that cost businesses significantly in terms of their technological spending, but it introduces even more equipment and potential e-waste into our communities and ecosystems.
If your business is considering how best to reduce the amount of e-waste it generates, consider purchasing equipment that has already been used, which will reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Leasing is another top option because you only have and use the equipment when you need it, mitigating the cost of maintaining and storing old equipment that, if left until it becomes outdated, degrades into unusable e-waste. We offer a variety of budget friendly equipment leasing options.
And when it comes time to purchase equipment for the growth of your business, we always recommend trading in what you have. This allows another company to make use of your old equipment — which can almost always be refurbished and brought up to OEM standards — and is a vital part of how to reduce the electronic waste problem we face.
Get Started on Earth Day
Earth Day falls on April 22nd this year, and it gives you the perfect opportunity to discuss how to recycle old technology with your team as well as identify what should be replaced, what can be sold or what you might temporarily need to run your operations.
Worldwide Supply wants to be your Earth Day partner with a green recycling program that ensures your internal IT asset management team knows about local e-waste recycling partners and methods to extend the life of existing equipment to generate multiple levels of savings.
Learn more about our green recycling program or contact us for help on managing your e-waste through buying used equipment, replacing purchases with leases or selling your equipment instead of scrapping it.