Beyond a general desire to recycle, your company may have legal obligations to responsibly dispose of e-waste. Environmental laws that regulate e-waste penalize improper disposal with heavy fines and penalties. Major U.S. companies have found themselves on the punitive “stick” side of U.S. environmental law due to improper disposal of e-waste.
On the upside, responsible recycling can not only keep you out of trouble, but also generate the “carrot” of found revenue for your company through resale of used IT assets. Together, the “stick” of enforcement penalties and “carrot” of resale gains motivate companies to pursue environmentally responsible ITAD.
ITAD: Think before you toss
Electronic waste disposal laws are becoming more commonplace: 28 states currently have e-waste legislation that bans electronic waste from landfills and incinerators. And the judicial system has been forthright in enforcing these laws.
Many companies have faced hefty penalties for improper recycling practices:
- In 2011, CA state inspectors found that a major telecom company was simply sending out electronic waste with the regular trash, which resulted in a $52 million settlement.
- Closed Loop Refining and Recovery executives were fined $14.18 million to cover the clean up of more than 100 million tons of CRT glass, which they left behind in an abandoned facility.
Prosecutors are also coming down on sham e-waste recycling operations.
- Executive Recycling’s CEO was sentenced to 22 months in prison when it was discovered that the company was shipping containers of e-waste to Asia.
- Seattle-based electronics recylcer Total Reclaim was fined $440,000 for sending flat-screen TVs and monitors to undocumented facilities, which were improperly managing toxic chemicals.
Know your responsibilities
So, what should you be doing with your electronic waste? Definitely don’t toss it out with the trash!
The lesson here is that your company is responsible for following e-waste regulations regardless of whether you are disposing of the assets yourself or having someone do it for you.
E-waste laws vary by state, so it’s important to take into account where your electronic waste is stored, handled and disposed of. Partnering with a knowledgable ITAD vendor who has relationships with reputable recycling partners is a good place to start.
Perks of compliance
Beyond staying out of legal trouble, why bother to toss your excess IT equipment when it could be earning your company found income?
With the right ITAD partner, much of your excess IT could be salvageable for resale. The UN estimates that, globally, $52 billion of potentially reusable resources were thrown out as e-waste in 2014. Many of your used computers, HDDs and servers have the potential for resale in secondary markets worldwide. Look for an international ITAD company that offers secure screening and refurbishment of your IT products, as well as access to global markets for optimum resale.
The net benefit of reusing excess electronics: stay out of legal trouble (avoid the “stick”) while improving the environment and your bottom line (earning the “carrot”).
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