The Many Benefits That E-Waste Recycling Has to Offer
Recycling isn't just for paper and plastic! Read more to learn of the many benefits that e-waste recycling has to offer today! A paltry 12.5 percent of e-waste gets recycled, according to the EPA. The urgency of recycling has never been higher. From the eyesore of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to worsening of air quality, everyone should contribute to reducing waste. Electronic devices have advanced in recent years, but there is still one constant: waste. These newer, better devices and computers are constantly getting replaced with successors. The old devices may get donated, resold, or go straight to the bin. E-waste recycling efforts are ramping because electronics are highly toxic and, ironically, contain valuable materials. If we can prevent e-waste from ever reaching landfills, the recovery and conservation of the environment will follow. To better understand electronic waste, let's take a look at what's at stake.
Dangers of E-Waste
The dangers of e-waste are often overlooked because electronics get seen as self-contained objects. Electronics make up about 2% of total waste, yet they total 70% of all hazardous waste. As these electronics break down over time, the toxic elements leach into the soil and into the water table. When these electronics are wrongfully dumped and pulverized in landfills, lead gets discharged into the earth. We are creating an unsafe environment for present and future generations. Customer gadgets as of now comprise 40% of lead found in landfills. Exposure to lead is dangerous even in small amounts. Lead can harm the autonomic system, blood, liver, and kidneys. Vast utilization of lead creates blood paleness and mental harm that is extreme enough to cause death. Breathing cadmium can seriously harm the lungs and cause cancer. LCDs are lit up by mercury filled boards, which is linked to birth defects and autoimmune disorders. Different noxious materials utilized in hardware incorporate chromium, lithium, and hydrocarbons. The pervasive use of hydrocarbons, fire retardants, and PVC covered supplies makes the e-waste too hazardous to throw away. The burning of e-waste would result in dioxins that would get absorbed into the atmosphere and water supplies. Because of all these dangers, e-waste needs professional recycling in a legitimate reusing facility by expert recyclers rather than amateur scrappers.
E-Waste Recycling Efforts
When it comes to outdated computers, phones, or other electronics, never toss them out. It's estimated that 150 million phones get thrown out every year in the world. Businesses, in particular, stand to gain from tax rebates and recovery of some of their investment. IT recycling efforts look to stem the tide of waste and provide real solutions to this growing problem. They're recognizing the growing need of keeping up with technology while conserving precious natural resources. For example, a lot of the materials that are recoverable from computers and electronics can get recycled and made into new products. This increases supplies of rare materials and expedites the manufacturing process. Anyone who tried to build a computer in the last few years have witnessed the constraints in the RAM/SSD sector.
Recycling old electronics and donating them to groups that need them is great for the community. Businesses can easily fill needs for schools and other small organizations by recycling and reusing them. Refurbished products that have been properly reset can go to low-income families and non-profits. This is a huge plus for the local economy and for any business trying to connect with the community. It's good for branding and it's good for business.
The more e-waste that gets recycled, the more qualified jobs get added to the market. This industry of recycling has enormous potential for job prospects. Recyclers are more than just gloried garbage men, they're chemists, engineers, IT experts, and more. The demand for recycled electronics is only going to increase as the extraction of resources becomes harder.
It cannot be stressed any harder that e-waste is bad for the environment. We are witnessing a pivotal time where pollution and waste are threatening the planet. Unsafe drinking water, mass-extinction of coral and fish species--these are all real. While many companies will say that they are green or environmentally-friendly, it's mostly about energy. This isn't to say that alternatively-powered businesses aren't positive. It is, however, much less common for recycling to be advertised. Today, you should consider leading the charge to make e-waste recycling a tenant of environmentally-friendly business.
IT Recycling Benefits
We've covered the benefits of reusing and recycling electronics as a whole. Now, let's switch gears and focus on why large IT operations stand to benefit. Outside of obvious environmental gains, what does e-waste recycling do for business?
Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft causes billions in losses every year. Most people assume that identity theft is all about stealing wallets, credit cards, or phishing online. The truth is that there is a huge underground industry for used computers and electronics. These thieves get their computer parts second-hand, whether through legal transactions or intercepting trash. If you're recycling your computers through a small operation, you might be putting your data at risk. Only a recycler that has onsite hard-drive shredding can completely protect against identity thieves.
Hard Drive Materials
Shredding companies that recycle your hard drive scraps prevent them from ever reaching a landfill. These materials can never be recovered by thieves, nor will they affect the environment. Data-recovery technology is a lot more advanced than it was years ago. There are many techniques that can pull data from incomplete hard drives. The government has even developed their own strict guidelines on hard drive disposal. You can never tell if a hard drive is completely destroyed by looking at it. People have recovered data in burned houses, plane crashes, and the classic hammer-printed damage. Thieves use very sensitive tools that can read data in fragments. Remember, hard drives do not write data in long rings that must get read like sheet music. It's stored in blocks, often in pieces found all over the hard drive. Disc defragmenting tries to put them close together for faster reading. Otherwise, there's always a chance of recovery from improperly destroyed discs.
Time and Money
The idea that recycling isn't profitable enough for some businesses is hogwash. They're looking at raw numbers and not the intangible costs, such as time and branding. The amount of time invested in trashing old computers is no small number. Proper disposal cannot be done without the expertise or machinery anyways. For any businesses that are assessing risk, this is one work your investment. Imagine attempting to destroy hundreds of hard drives and having to re-do it because the drives still spun up? Proper e-waste recycling is an investment in both security and your company's image.
Old, Broken Computers
Another misconception about recycling is that you need fairly recent components for it to be worthwhile. If a computer is deemed broken beyond repair, don't throw it out. Again, the hard drive data is still at risk. Not only that, even outdated and broken computers are still useful for other things. They can be converted into educational tools, art pieces, and etc. All computer parts can be melted down and have precious metals extracted. Recycling can turn a profit under the right circumstances.
Yes, destroying hard drives is common practice in-house, but it comes with legal risks. A professional electronic shredding and recycling company will meet HIPAA-level standards. This process guarantees adherence to State and Federal regulations. If your company were to experience a data breach, you'll pay a lot more in fines than if you went with a professional shredder. When you use an e-waste recycling service, you should receive a certificate to prove that proper procedures were followed. This will cover your butt and the company that provided the service.
Going Green and Waste-Free
Your decision to go green will grant you a return on your investment in multiple ways. First, this is a financial advantage. By destroying your electronics properly, you're reducing the costly mistakes and irreparable damage to your business. Second, by recycling, you are able to quickly replace old and broken electronics without needing to worry about where the old ones are going. Thirdly, your company's data and customer data will never reach the hands of thieves.
E-waste recycling is a way for your business to lead the way in the growing demand for electronic recycling. The pioneers of this environmental revolution stand to benefit greatly. Brands are remembered for their social awareness. If you're ready to make that transition and start recycling your electronic waste, contact us today. National CWS is an industry leader of professional e-waste recycling. We are experts in hard drive shredding, data center cleaning, and server relocation. Let us help you find a greener, more efficient way to do business.