The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the country. If your company is not already doing its part to properly dispose of e-waste, now is the time to get involved. But, you may face some resistance when trying to talk to your superiors about implementing an e-waste plan in the workplace. Overcome these obstacles and successfully convince your company to form an e-waste plan by following these steps:
Start out simple by talking to your boss about the importance of properly disposing of electronic waste. It’s possible that your company does not have a plan in place because upper level management is not aware of how sending electronic waste to landfills impacts the environment and the community. If this is the case, now is your opportunity to educate your leadership team on why the company should be recycling e-waste.
Explain that electronic waste that sits in landfills will eventually begin to leak hazardous chemicals and materials such as lead, chromium, mercury, and arsenic. These chemicals will either be released into the atmosphere or absorbed into the ground, where they can eventually contaminate the water supply. People in the surrounding communities may face side effects from consuming these chemicals in their water, which is why it’s so important to keep electronic waste out of our landfills.
After you explain the dangers of tossing your electronic waste in the trash, discuss how recycling is a safer option that your company should consider. Walk your manager through the process of how electronics are broken down and safely recycled to protect the people in the community and the environment. Many people do not understand why recycling electronics is so important, so sharing this information could be enough to motivate your management team to take action and create a plan to manage the company’s e-waste.
Discuss data security
What does your company currently do with all of its e-waste? If your company is tossing electronic devices in the trash or reselling it, they may inadvertently allow confidential company data to fall into the wrong person’s hands. The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) recently examined smartphones, tablets, and hard drives being resold to the public and found that 40% of these devices still contained personal information from the original owner. This information included credit card numbers, tax details, and personal files. The NAID only attempted to retrieve data from the devices using basic extraction methods, so the percentage of devices with data still on them would have been much higher if they had also incorporated more advanced methods of extraction.
To protect your company’s confidential information, it’s imperative that you work with an electronics recycler who is qualified to destroy the data on your devices prior to disposing of the electronics. ERI offers customers a 100% guarantee that data will be destructed right away. Customers are even allowed to watch the data destruction process so they have proof that their information was erased from their devices.
Bring this up when you talk to your boss about implementing an e-waste plan in the workplace. Protecting the company’s confidential information should be a top priority, and your management team may not understand that by improperly disposing of electronic devices, they are taking a risk that the company’s information will be shared with others.
Mention the positive social impact
Companies are always looking for a way to appeal to the public, and taking a stance against e-waste is one way to do so. Nielsen found that the Millennial generation is especially committed to working with sustainable companies. A study done in 2015 revealed that this generation is willing to pay more for a product or service that comes from a company that is dedicated to making a positive social and environmental impact. The Millennial generation is powerful—in fact, it is estimated that they spend over $200 billion every year—so appealing to this generation would be a wise business decision that may grab your boss’s attention.
Explain to your superiors that if you adopt an e-waste plan in the workplace, you can advertise your dedication to the responsible disposal of electronics on your website and social media pages. You can even send out a press release to announce the new plan and drum up interest. Even if upper level management is not persuaded by learning about the facts of e-waste disposal, this is an opportunity to attract new customers and change how the public perceives the company, so management should be listening carefully.
Contact an electronics recycler
Once you’ve given your boss all of the information he needs to know about e-waste, don’t just sit back and expect him to take action. Instead, take the initiative to contact electronics recyclers near you and ask for more information. Learn about what services they provide, where they are located, and how much they would charge your company. Be sure to choose a recycler that does not send electronic waste to developing countries and that handles the destruction of personal information on devices. You should also find a electronics recycler that has been awarded the R2 and e-Stewards certification so you know you will be working with the best in the business. Gather as much information as you possibly can, and then present it to your boss. This makes it much easier for your boss to say yes, since he won’t have to do any of the research on his own.
ERI is the leading recycler of e-waste in the U.S., and is trusted by various government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and organizations within the healthcare, technology, and telecommunications industries. For more information on recycling your electronics, or to request a quote for your company, contact us today.