According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 235 million units of electronic products (including CPUs, monitors, notebooks, keyboards, mice, and hard copy peripherals) sold between 1980 and 2007 have accumulated in storage. Of the millions of computer products discarded in 2007, less than 25 percent were recycled--the remaining 75 percent were simply tossed in the garbage.
How much unused or obsolete electronics equipment do you have sitting around collecting dust in closets, empty cubicles, and hallways of your building?
Being green isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t know how or where to recycle your unwanted equipment. Here are a few tips to make recycling your e-waste easier:
Recycle: Finding some place that would take your old electronics equipment used to be quite a challenge but the number of recycling centers has increased dramatically, and there are several websites that can help you find one in your area, including National Center for Electronics Recycling, International Association of Electronics Recyclers, Basel Network Action and Digitaltips. There also are companies that provide recycling services for a fee, like GreenCitizen, which offers pick-up, drop-off, and mail-in options.
Return to vendor: In some cases, you can return your old electronics equipment to the manufacturer. Several companies, including Microsoft, Apple and Cisco, offer recycling and reuse programs to help reduce the amount of electronics entering the waste stream. Cisco also provides a program where customers can get a discount on new products in exchange for returning used equipment.
Donate: Schools, charities, and non-profits are always in need of computers. Consider donating your old computer so that it can be put to good use by another organization; there might even be a tax break in it for your company. Many organizations, such as PC Rebuilders & Recyclers and Computer Recycling Center will accept computers, refurbish them, and then distribute to schools or other community organizations. If you’re interested in donating your retired computers, Earth911 provides a list of organizations that accept equipment donations.
When you consider that e-waste accounts for 2 percent of the municipal solid waste stream in the U.S., according to the EPA, recycling your computer equipment is definitely the right thing to do--it is good for the environment, can provide much-needed technology to organizations that can’t afford it, and can even be good for your balance sheet.
See how small businesses can use Cisco solutions to help save the planet.
What does your company do with its old or unused electronics equipment? Have you found a recycling organization that you love? Let us know!