As the world becomes more technologically advanced, we have produced more electronic waste (e-waste) than ever before. In fact, e-waste contributes two percent of the U.S. landfill waste, with over 53.6 million metric tons of old electronics. Most of this e-waste comes from businesses that heavily rely on electronic devices to stay relevant and operational in their respective industries.
As businesses grow, so do their electronic needs. Business leaders are continuously finding the smartest, fastest, and newest technology to handle the ever-increasing pressures of their daily workload. Because of the uncontrollable e-waste production, environmental groups are holding companies accountable for their e-waste. Even private individuals are also encouraged to re-evaluate their tech needs and extend the life of their smartphones by taking them to a phone repair shop.
In the face of environmental issues, companies should find sustainable strategies to reduce e-waste and expand their social responsibility efforts. In this article, we will uncover the problems brought by e-waste and how businesses can lessen their environmental impact.
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste or e-waste is any type of discarded electronic device or gadget that is obsolete or no longer functional. It is also one of the biggest segments of the U.S. waste stream, including all unusable, outdated, and broken electronic devices, and other recyclable e-waste components that belong to the electronic recycling program.
The problem with e-waste often falls in the lack of education about discarded electronics. Their sleek surfaces make us think they are non-hazardous, making it difficult to view them as a piece of garbage. When we find images of old computers and TV in landfills, we only see their innocent exterior. In reality, this what makes e-waste extremely dangerous.
The internal parts of an electronic device are home to a host of toxic materials, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and beryllium. These elements can damage the human body when handled incorrectly. Once subjected to constant exposure, a person can suffer from severe illness, neurological issues, and organ damage. These issues pose a greater risk to workers who have direct contact with e-waste as well as communities nearby landfill sites.
Recycling solutions for e-waste
Since e-waste poses a significant risk to the environment, you need to apply the most eco-friendly ways to get rid of it. In modern workplaces filled with technology upgrades, companies should take responsibility for their e-waste to tackle the ever-growing environmental issues brought by businesses and institutions.
Make informed purchase decisions
Often, companies purchase electronics in bulk for employee use. Most of them are often looking for the latest models, best reviews, or the most affordable option. But aside from these considerations, companies should also consult the retailer by asking about the models that don’t require too many repairs and have the lowest return rate.
Upgrade or repair
Just because a certain device is old doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Consult the IT department to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of upgrading or repairing a device. This will let you know if a computer needs a replacement or needs a little fixing.
Donate, sell, or swap
If you think that your electronics have already reached their maximum life expectancy, then it’s time to consider donating or selling the used electronics. Trading electronics is very easy, especially if you found a marketplace with plenty of interested buyers. These people treat discarded computer parts as a real treasure to create a new device out of it.
Before sending off the used electronics, make sure the IT team has completely wiped off the company data to prevent data breaches and other privacy issues. There are plenty of non-profit charities that accept donations for outdated electronics, where you can also get a tax reduction.
Conduct an e-waste recycle program
If the electronic item is completely obsolete or damaged that repairing or selling is impossible, then it’s time to recycle it. Before starting a recycling program in the workplace, consult your state’s guidelines when it comes to e-waste recycling.
Instead of throwing used electronics in the landfill, you can send them to revenue generators that treat recyclable electronics as commodities. These old purchases can generate massive cash flow depending on business location, size, and type of e-waste. To save time and effort, you can partner with e-waste recycling programs that offer compensation for e-waste products.
Apart from other types of wastes, our electronic devices create the biggest environmental impact. Businesses should take this opportunity to establish their social responsibility efforts towards the environment. Responsibly managing wastes can go a long way by donating goods, reducing unnecessary purchases, and collaborating with environmental organizations. Follow our suggestions above to minimize the e-waste problem and provide helpful solutions to the environment.