Recycling Business E-waste
You may already know that improper disposal of electronic waste is bad for the environment but do you realize how bad it is for your bottom line as well?
Do you know how your business is handling e-waste? Are you compliant with your state’s e-waste recycling laws? How do you know?
The size of your business may affect how e-waste needs to be managed before being recycled. Larger corporations may handle it in-house, while smaller and mid-size companies rely on local haulers for direction. And because e-waste recycling programs vary in cost and type, it’s important for business owners and operations managers to understand their options. The bottom line is that if it’s not managed properly, you could be putting your company at risk.
That risk can be significant in scale. In 2017, the nationwide retailer Big Lots had to pay more than $3.5 million in civil penalties, costs and contributions to environmental projects to settle allegations that it illegally disposed of e-waste and hazardous waste to landfill.
More is known today about the harmful effects of sending electronic waste to the landfill. This has led to a series of regulations in the United States to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mismanagement and disposal of this waste. As the recycling industry continues to evolve and adapt to the growing volume of this waste stream, businesses are being held responsible for its proper disposal.
Electronic waste is toxic and contains harmful elements such as lead and mercury. These hazardous materials can contaminate the environment and negatively impact the health of those who come into contact with it. Items include electronic devices with batteries or circuit boards, mobile phones, printers, computers, television sets and stereo systems.
Various e-waste recycling options are available for businesses today depending on the quantity and type produced, local regulations and your business constraints. Customized solutions need to be carefully configured to meet these needs and to produce the greatest financial and environmental benefits. Recycling options may include; free collections sites, donation, specialized haulers for large loads and manufacturer ‘take-back,’ programs.
Before you consider recycling electronics, it’s important to pay close attention to data security. Corporate and customer information doesn’t disappear without specific actions taken to erase data, and it’s not just computer hard drives that need to be wiped or destroyed; sensitive corporate data can also be stored in cellphones and printers. Fines in the form of civil lawsuits are possible for failing to safely delete or destroy personal customer and employee information before disposal or recycling, with even relatively small data breaches costing companies upwards of $3 million in lawsuits.
Laws regarding the proper disposal of e-waste vary slightly from state to state. California prohibits all electronics from its landfills and established a tax on all new electronics that funds e-waste disposal in the state. Depending on the amount of e-waste your business generates and the number of locations you have, you may want to consult with a recycling management company who can stay on top of individual state recycling laws.
Businesses with multiple locations may require a larger recycling program. At National Waste Associates, we offer a variety of cost-effective solutions for both large and small quantities of e-waste. Our recycling programs are designed to be simple to use, to minimize your risk and to keep your business compliant.
For more information about our recycling solutions call 1-888-692-5005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.