If you have an old printer or monitor kicking around your office, you are not alone. End-of-life electronics is the fastest growing form of waste, and accounts for about 5% of our total trash volume. In this day and age, there are electronic devices emerging constantly that provoke us to purchase the latest and greatest replacement gadget. Whether it is a cell phone, computer, or monitor, we live in a society where a perfectly good computer will be brushed aside if there is a new, sleek edition available.
In plenty of situations, businesses begin stock piling monitors, keyboards, old telephones in a spare room that quickly turns into a storage area. In most cases, these devices are never put into use again, but are stored for circumstances where “you might need to access that file.” Sure, it’s an easy way to justify keeping your old computer, but more than likely it comes down to not knowing what to do with the parts.
Identity theft is an increasing concern, and therefore there is often resistance when it comes to letting go of these items, should anyone discover a way to tap into confidential information. One hard drive alone contains thousands of files; deleting a specific file from your computer does not rid of the content all together. These “deleted” files actually stay on the drive, along with any other online activity such as email communication. One may think overwriting or reformatting is enough to erase material, but even this may not prevent confidential data from being obtained by the wrong person. The only safe and secure option that eliminates the risk of identity theft is hard drive and media destruction. If these devices are put into the trash without being properly destroyed, this could potentially leak sensitive information, putting your company in a liable position.
Unfortunately these misconceptions alone, are often enough to deter one from disposing of their electronic material. As a general rule, roughly 90% of electronic components are in fact reusable and recyclable. The key aspect to keep in mind however, is removing all hard drives for the purpose of destruction, prior to recycling. So why is it important for your company to incorporate these recycling practices?
It Protects the Environment
For starters, it’s the right thing to do for our environment. When these devices are not disposed of correctly, there are toxins leaked into our soil and ground water. This contamination also infects our air quality, which ultimately affects human health conditions. When you take action to prevent this from happening, your business is reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to positive change.
It Boosts Your Company Image
Green companies are companies that are well respected in the community. Incorporating an electronic waste program into your place of work, promotes excellent association for your brand, and is clear evidence you are a company who cares about the state of our environment. Furthermore, considering community involvement in your program can be utilized as an excellent marketing tool. Its great exposure for your company and your green efforts may very well attract new clients for you that are also environmentally conscious.
Most standard recycling and shredding companies will also accept electronic material with collection, at no extra fee. Why not free up space in your office? This is a quick and easy solution for a more organized and clean working environment. That closet that once had stacks of keyboards and monitors can now be used for essential office supplies.
Recycling electronics is easy, and it genuinely goes a long way. If each company takes the initiative to dispose of their gadgets responsibly, together we can make a significant impact on our environment, setting a great example for generations to come.