It’s estimated that over124,000 metric tons of electronics are generated throughout the world every day. Of that e-waste, only 20% is properly disposed of. That’s a lot of phones, tablets, computers, and other electronics that end up trashing the planet. Business owners all need to consider how to safely, responsibly dispose of old electronics. While they’re taking this important step, there are also five important things to consider.
#1 – The Electronics May Still Have Monetary Value
Could your electronic devices still have some value? Older electronics may be outdated for you and your workers, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels that way. There are buyers who will pay $16 or more for a used iPhone5. The iPad Air 2s you had people using in the office could be worth $120 or more with some buyers. You could make up some of the expense you’re putting into upgrading your office equipment.
#2 – Cleaning All Stored Files, Software, and Data is Important
Never sell your electronics without destroying the data. You do not want the printer, phone, computer, etc. to end up in the hands of someone who is able to find your customers’ or employees’ confidential information. A factory reset may not do as much to erase data as you’d think.
You need to back up your files to your new device. Then confidential information needs to be deleted and overwritten. The drive has to be encrypted and then you’d wipe the hard drive. Your business may need to follow a specific protocol that meet HIPAA laws and other federal laws designed to safeguard personal information. Make sure you know what you’re doing. It’s often smarter to hire a professional data destruction agency.
#3 – You Must Transfer Subscriptions Before Disposal
Some software subscriptions are limited to a specific number of electronic devices. If you have subscriptions for office and design software, antivirus suites, etc., make sure you’re removed permission for the device you’re about to recycle. Some of the programs to think about are Microsoft Office, Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Spotify, etc. This is easy to do, yet it’s one step people often forget before recycling their electronics.
#4 – E-Waste Recycling is the Eco-Friendly Method
Have you ever stopped to think about the components found within your computer, phone, tablet, printer, etc? They contain a long list of chemicals and heavy metals. If they’re not properly disposed of, they can end up in groundwater and the soil. Beryllium, cadmium, lead, and mercury are four of the common ones. PVC (plastic) is also used to make many electronics.
When you recycle your e-waste, the company that processes it breaks down the device and separates the metals, glass, and plastic. They can be melted down and used in the manufacturing of new electronics. Through the reuse of materials, it helps prevent overflowing landfills, stops plastics from reaching the ocean where they end up killing aquatic animals, and saves the soil and water from contamination.
#5 – Charitable Organizations May Benefit From Those Electronics
Even if you’re sure your electronics don’t have any value, do some research. A used cell phone may be useless to you, but there are organizations that will take them and find them a new home with someone in need. A cell phone could change the life of a battered woman who has no money for things she needs. Schools can use refurbished computers and printers. If you donate your device, it could change someone’s life.
You Need to Carefully Choose Who You Use
In order to recycle your electronics, you do need to carefully choose an e-waste recycling company. You do not want to pick a company that sends devices overseas where they may not be properly recycled. To ensure this, look for a recycling company that is e-Stewards certified. Only companies that process electronic waste without exporting it qualify for this certification. You should also look for R2 certification that shows a company is focused on protecting both its workers and the environment as it recycles and refurbishes electronics.
ERI was the first e-recycling company to hold both e-Stewards and R2 certified. That’s just a start. Our electronics recycling company holds more certifications than most and is also a Microsoft Registered electronics refurbisher. We make sure all of our clients are compliant with current laws regarding e-waste processing and data destruction. Ask one of our experts for help disposing of your electronics. We’re happy to help you take the right steps to protect your business and the planet at the same time. Call 1-800-ERI-DIRECT to learn more.