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Guide To Recycling Used Commercial Electronics

Don’t let your business contribute to a growing global crisis. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is rapidly taking its toll on the environment and the population. How can your business handle e-waste responsibly?

Become aware of commercial e-waste disposal and recycling regulations.
Commercial e-waste disposal laws vary from state to state, and are often more stringent than federal laws. To learn more about regulations in your area, visit the National Center for Electronics Recycling. Also, be aware that there are special requirements under federal and state law regarding the handling of hazardous wastes contained within discarded appliances, and that it is your company’s responsibility to identify these materials prior to disposal. Examples of components deemed hazardous waste include cathode ray tubes (CRTs) utilized in monitors and TVs, cell phones and hand held devices, and many more. For a complete listing of hazardous wastes, visit the EPA’s waste identification page. It may also be helpful to note that reused, refurbished, or recycled items are often exempt from hazardous waste classification.

Understand that quantity matters.

  • Large quantities – over 100 kilograms Facilities generating over 100 kg (about 220 pounds) per month of hazardous waste are governed by state and federal disposal laws and must be sent to a permitted hazardous waste landfill.
  • Small quantities – under 100 kilograms Less than 100 kg of material per month are not required to be handled as hazardous waste – unless state laws require more stringent management.

Commercial e- waste recycling and disposal options include:

  1. EPA certified electronics recyclers. Unfortunately, not every e-waste recycler follows good, environmentally -sound disposal practices. As a result, the EPA encourages both businesses and individuals to opt for certified recyclers, such as those endorsed by the EPA’s two standards programs: e-Stewards and R2. For a map of certified electronics refurbishers and recycling facilities, see the EPA’s certification map.
  2. Government sponsored events. State, county, and local waste management centers may offer special programs and events as a public service, possibly free, for responsibly disposing of electronic and hazardous waste. For more information on programs and events specific to your area, visit the National Center for Electronics Recycling.
  3. Retailer pickup. If you’ve recently made a large electronic or appliance purchase from a retailer, be sure to inquire about pickup and recycling options available to your business. Many offer free pickup and disposal of your old equipment with delivery of your new purchase.
  4. Donations and charities. Many items previously used by your business can be given a second life through donations and charities. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and an array of other charities give businesses and consumers alike an affordable alternative to new items, as well as keeping them out of the landfill. In addition, donated items may be used to provide essential goods and services. For example, cell phones can be donated to The Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Cell Phones for Soldiers, and appliances and building materials to Habitat for Humanity.
  5. Resale. Thanks to today’s technology, it is easier than ever to reach a wide array of businesses and individuals who may be able to give new life to your old equipment. If you’ve got a little time to invest and wouldn’t mind a few extra dollars added to your business’ books, try listing your used electronics on Craigslist, eBay, in the local paper or with a trade organization.
  6. HirePatriots. Prefer not to deal with it? Draft HirePatriots to handle your commercial recycling issues. In cooperation with Mr. Electric®, non-profit Patriotic Hearts provides jobs for U.S. veterans and support services for their families. HirePatriots’ e-waste management services are leading the way, offering:
    • Pickup, packaging and removal.
    • Responsible recycling.
    • Secure data destruction.

Don’t neglect security.                         
Sensitive personal and business information stored on used electronic devices that has ­­not been securely destroyed poses a huge risk and the risk of civil lawsuits if consumer information is compromised. Health care and financial companies are particularly at risk. Be certain to store and dispose of this sensitive information properly to avoid federal laws and penalties. Is your business’ e-waste wearing on you? Take the stress out of dealing with electronic waste with the help of HirePatriots and Mr. Electric. Together, we have what it takes to handle all of your business’ recycling and disposal needs safely and efficiently.