How To Recycle Your Business Electronics
Photo courtesy Greenpeace.org
Think of how many electronics are in your business right now. You’ve got phones, fax machines, copiers, computer monitors, desktop hard drives, tvs, laptops, digital cameras, scanners…the list is endless.
These machines contain tons of toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium and mercury. Recycle Works estimates that there is 4 lbs of lead in every TV and computer monitor. And, most businesses simply throw these machines, called “e-waste”, into the trash.
Greenpeace estimates that we generate 20-50 million tons of e-waste every single year. And as you can probably guess, that number is steadily going up as more people upgrade their computers, digital cameras, and cell phones at an increasingly faster rate.
How To Recycle Your Business Electronics: Reuse
The good news? Our business electronics can easily be given new life by someone else. Here are some easy ways to keep all this e-waste out of your local landfill:
- Donate It: Charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army can resell almost any type of electronics if it’s in working order. Plus, you’ll also get a tax write off for your donation.
- Sell It: Even though you may not have a use for that old laptop, it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. Try selling your business electronics through places like Craigslist and Freecycle.
- Mail It: You can also check out sites like Gazelle and YouRenew. Both sites purchase electronic equipment, and send you a postage-paid box to send it in with. What can you send? The list is incredibly long and includes equipment like GPS devices, cell phones, laptops, external hard drives, and much more.
Can’t find anyone who wants your equipment? Is it too broken to pass on to someone else?
Then your next step is to recycle it. Here are some resources you can use.
- Earth911: Earth911 is has an in-depth searchable database that allows you to find a local e-waste recycler in your area. All you need is your zip code, and what you want to recycle.
- eStewards: eStewards is a program started by the Basel Action Network (BAN) that ensures e-waste recyclers aren’t taking your electronics and simply “recycling” them off to China or Africa to be burned. These toxic dumping grounds are incredibly toxic to the local environment, as well as the local people. You can find a list of eSteward certified recyclers here.
It doesn’t take much effort at all to recycle your business electronics. And, most counties treat items like computers and tvs as hazardous waste anyway, so it just make sense to dispose of these items properly.