For Earth Day, Properly Dispose of All Your Electronics
April 22nd is Earth Day, which began 50 years ago as a means to hold businesses and corporations accountable for the damage that their highly industrialized pollution was introducing into the world. As the digital age has introduced a new environmental concern, it only seems prudent to address the challenge we face today: e-waste.
What is E-Waste, and Why is It Such a Problem?
E-waste (short for “electronic waste”) is the term given to discarded electronics and the assorted accessories and other peripherals (like wires, drives, etc.) that accompany it. As of January 2015, much of it can no longer be thrown out with regular garbage. When the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act became law in May of 2010, manufacturers were required to maintain programs that enabled people to recycle their old devices, and five years later, disposing of these devices by just throwing them out was banned in New York State. These acts cover more technologies than you may initially expect them to… although there are also a lot of items that are excluded.
- All-in-one devices
- Desktop workstations
- Thin clients
- VR headsets
- 3-D printers (weighing less than 100 lbs)
- Label Printers
- Small-scale servers
- Cable box
- Converter box
- DVD player
- Game consoles
- Digital music players
- Projectors with DVD compatibility
- Any that are larger than 4 inches diagonally
E-waste is an issue, mainly due to its environmental impacts. These kinds of devices contain a considerable amount of hazardous materials in them, including toxic metals like mercury and lead. If these devices aren’t attended to properly, these hazards can leach into the groundwater and present severe health issues for the surrounding communities. Unfortunately, these concerns have not stopped these devices from entering landfills, and neither has the fact that many of the materials in these devices can easily be recycled and used again in newly-manufactured ones.
Are Businesses Supposed to Recycle These Electronics?
You may have noticed that many of these devices are typically (but not exclusively) found more often in the home, for personal use… so you may be wondering how, if at all, these laws could impact your business.
While these devices are all classified as “consumer” electronic equipment by these laws, these laws also define a “consumer” as “any individual, business, corporation, limited partnership, not-for-profit corporation, the state, a public corporation, public school, school district, private or parochial school or board of cooperative educational services or governmental entity located in New York State.”
So yes, any New York-based business needs to abide by these laws, and by the NYS Electronic Recycling and Reuse Act, manufacturers need to enable “consumers” (again, including businesses) with recycling services. In fact, if you fall into one of the following categories, these services are free:
- For-profit businesses
- Corporations with fewer than 50 full-time employees
- Not-for-profit corporations with fewer than 75 full-time employees
- Not-for-profit corporations under internal revenue code 501(c)(3)
- Government entities
What About My Sensitive Data?
Of course, as you are recycling your outdated technology, you do need to consider the data that is housed on the device. It is surprisingly hard to truly delete data without the hopes of recovery, so you will want a professional in your corner to ensure that your bases are covered where your security is concerned. Once some of your equipment is shipped off to be recycled, you no longer have control over it or the data it may contain.
This is precisely why you should turn to Directive as your technology recycling resource. Not only are we recognized as an official collection site by the state (which means we have to meet certain standards outlined by New York), but we also have the expertise needed to ensure your data is good and gone before your technology is sent off to be disposed of. We’ll even provide you with a certificate of destruction, which would absolve your business of any liability if data were to somehow be leaked.
To learn more about our e-waste collection services, reach out to our team at 888-546-4384.