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You probably already recycle com- mon office materials like printer paper, cans and bottles. But what
about old electronics? Office equipment contains financially valuable – and
environmentally harmful – materials and
components. When this equipment is
no longer used at work, it is called electronic waste, or e-waste.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste is a broad category that cov-
ers all sorts of electronics, many of which
are commonly found in the workplace:
n Computers, monitors and other
n Mobile devices
n Audiovisual equipment
n Imaging equipment, including printers,
copiers, scanners and fax machines
n Rechargeable batteries
n Metering devices
n Data center equipment
n Kitchen and breakroom appliances
Many recyclers offer rebates for your
e-waste because they can harvest the
valuable metals inside certain electronics,
including silver and palladium. Cynthia
Duke, founder and CEO of Christie
Technology Corporation, typically negotiates a contract that awards the customer
a certain percentage of the proceeds
after donated equipment is sold. You may
also be able to get a tax break for donating old electronics to nonprofits.
Your organization’s financial advisors
can decide which route is best. Either way,
you'll get rid of outdated equipment and
receive a financial return at the same time.
Some electronics also contain lead,
nickel or mercury, which can leach out
into the environment if they’re not
handled correctly. These elements and
chemicals can wind up in the air, water
and soil, potentially harming not only
Why You Need An E-Waste
EXPLORE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND FINANCIAL BENEFITS
OF RECYCLING OLD ELECTRONICS
people but also local plants and wildlife.
Keep the maximum amount possible
out of the landfill by creating a culture at
your organization that encourages people
to bring their own e-waste from home, as
this will both keep extra e-waste out of the
landfill and increase your rebate. “That also
gets them thinking about the importance of
recycling electronics,” Duke says.
How to Find an E-Waste
The EPA certifies electronic recycling companies under two standards,
the Responsible Recycling Standard for
Electronics Recyclers and the e-Stewards
Standard for Responsible Recycling and
Reuse of Electronic Equipment. Use either
or both certifications to vet potential
recycling partners to ensure they prioritize
safety, health and the environment.
The recycler should be happy to show
you the facility in person too, Duke advises.
Be suspicious of anyone who doesn't want
you to see their recycling operation. “Ask
if you can visit their facility,” adds Duke. “If
they’re skittish or shy away from that, you
Recycling e-waste stands to benefit the
environment, your staff and your organiza-
tion’s bottom line. Start your e-waste initia-
tive today. B
Janelle Penny ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a senior writer for BUILDINGS.
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21sources are so much better than
ELECTRONIC WASTE should be
disposed of responsibly. Make the
process easier by partnering with a
certified electronics recycler.