What do all the following entities have in common?
- City of Houston
- Philadelphia School District
- University of Southern Illinois
- Sweetwater Union High School District
- Dawnville Elementary School
Their names were on electronics waste found in developing countries half way across the world, potentially impacting the health of children and damaging the environment in those countries. (Source: BAN.org and PBS Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground)
We are confident none of these cities and institutions intentionally shipped their e-waste to Asia or Africa. However, it is an unfortunate result of budget constraints and government sourcing procedures when an unscrupulous low bidder or downstream vendor is awarded a contract. E-waste is shipped to developing countries because it is cheaper than recycling properly in the U.S. and allows unethical recyclers to exploit loopholes in U.S. law to submit low bids to government entities.
In addition to the ethical concerns, there can be a high price to pay for U.S. and state environmental violations – saving a few pennies per pound for e-scrap disposal could result in millions of dollars in penalties or cleanup costs.
As reported in E-Scrap News in 2018:
A trial is deciding whether federal Superfund law makes three South Carolina counties responsible for costs to remove CRT displays and other material abandoned by shuttered processor Creative Recycling Systems.
The case involves cleanup costs at a South Carolina warehouse that was used by Creative Recycling Systems (CRS). The company filed for bankruptcy in 2014, leaving 32 million pounds of CRT glass and other scrap electronic materials in storage across six states.
Then there is the case of the now defunct Closed Loop Refining and Recovery. Major CRT tonnages were left behind by Closed Loop in warehouses in Arizona and Ohio — regulatory and legal action continues.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) estimated that Closed Loop left behind approximately 158 million pounds of CRT glass at five sites in Arizona. The result is costly:
At the other 59th Avenue facility, which is owned by Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), according to documents from Closed Loop there are 42,396,000 pounds of non-leaded CRT glass as this facility; ADOT is arranging for internal funding to remove and dispose of glass, with an anticipated project start date before June 1, 2018.
Beyond the environmental concerns and risks, local and state governments may be required to comply with the myriad of Federal and state law applicable to data security and data privacy. Data destruction legislation is in place for 14 states that apply to government entities in addition to possibly Federal requirements that may be applicable.
Protect your Organization
So, the issue is twofold: government entities must meet the challenge of both protecting data contained in end-of-life equipment while also ensuring both data and non-data bearing electronics equipment are properly recycled to comply with all applicable regulations and to protect the reputation of the entity.
ERI is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition service provider in the U.S. and focused on data destruction and cybersecurity – ERI is the only company in the world with NAID AAA and e-Stewards certifications. NAID is the only recognized certification focused exclusively on data security and data destruction; e-Stewards addresses both data security and environmental controls. Holding these certifications means we are subject to audit more than our clients with 15 to 20 audits every year, including unannounced audits.
We can service clients throughout the country through our eight locations. Further, ERI offers a recycling kit program to handle smaller volumes responsibly and cost effectively for local government and state agencies.
ERI specializes in state and local government e-recycling and data destruction – Collection events, school systems at all levels, box programs, on-site shredding, asset resale and more – we know government.
We 100% guarantee you and your citizen’s data will be wiped from any IT and electronic assets if you use ERI. Further, there is a 100% guarantee that your assets won’t end up in a landfill anywhere in the world preventing public damage to your reputation and costly fines or cleanup costs.