Electronics Recycling Done Right: Ethics, Laws, and Cost Reduction
Electronic waste is becoming a very real and urgent problem in the United States, affecting both businesses and households who are unsure of how to find an electronics recycling service to properly dispose of old devices. Since electronics recycling is a topic that many people still do not understand, here are some important facts that illustrate why you should have us recycle your old electronics.
Why Electronics Recycling is Right for You
States from Arkansas to California are enacting all kinds of legislation to regulate or ban the disposal of electronic equipment in landfills. In fact, California was the first state to pass legislation around e-waste, and has prohibited the disposal of electronic waste in landfills and prohibits exporting electronic waste overseas.
At Direct Resource Management, we pride ourselves on being an ISO 14001 and R2 certified electronics recycler, which means we pledge that all electronics brought to us for recycling will never be sent to a landfill nor sent overseas to become a burden on a third-world country.
Cost-Effective Take-Back Programs
For companies or groups with large numbers of surplus electronics to recycle, take-back programs can help recover costs through resale of old equipment. This option not only helps save the organization money, but also is a great way to recycle surplus electronics by redistributing them or their parts to people who need them.
If you’re interested in taking part in a take-back program, call us today to find out how we can help your business or other organization realize a financial return on your surplus electronics equipment.
Electronics Recycling Laws Cover More Than Just Computers
While computers contain a large quantity of hazardous materials like lead, they aren’t the only electronics equipment that must be responsibly disposed of. Cell phones, smart phones, and mobile phones in general all contain many chemicals that can end up in groundwater systems when sent to landfills, which is precisely why they are “considered hazardous waste” in the state of California.
Because of the wide array of electronic devices that should be recycled to protect our environment, Direct Resource Management accepts everything from computers to cell phones and IT equipment like routers and modems.
No matter what electronics you’re considering recycling, make sure you do it ethically and efficiently by calling us and having us handle the process for you from start to finish. We’ll be more than happy to pick up any large amounts of electronics for free, or if you’ve just got one or a few individual items, we welcome you to drop them off at our facilities located conveniently in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Area, in San Leandro.
What We Recycle
The Complete Guide to Electronics Recycling for Businesses and Homes
As experts in electronics recycling, we’re always looking for ways to share our knowledge and help keep our community as informed as possible. To help our customers like you better understand the entire process from start to finish, we’ve put together this extensive guide to electronics recycling that businesses and households can both use. Electronics recycling probably isn’t your specialty – nor should it be – so we’ve gone ahead and done the research and put in the years of experience so we can share our knowledge with you directly.
Before you dive into the information below, remember that if you ever have questions at any point, our friendly team is more than happy to answer them for you. We’re just a quick phone call or email away, and we take great pleasure in sharing our expert knowledge for any question, no matter how specific or broad.
The Growing E-Waste Problem and the Need for Electronics Recycling
Each year, between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste is disposed of worldwide. Of the e-waste that’s disposed, about 80% gets incinerated or sent to landfills in developing nations like Vietnam, India or others, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. Worldwide, only 12.5% of all e-waste actually ends up being recycled. The United States is a bit better, recycling about 25% of old electronics, but there’s still 75% that isn’t getting recycled.
With those facts alone in mind, it’s easy to see what a serious problem e-waste is – and it’s only growing in sheer volume. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, electronic waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the country. The saddest part is most of what people generally think is electronic waste is actually components that can be reused or resold rather than disposed of – much of it isn’t really waste at all!
With people turning over more and more phones and tablets, laptops and computers, and other devices every year, having an electronics recycling solution to handle old electronics is becoming increasingly crucial to both our country and the greater world that we live in.
The Environment and Ethics of Electronics Recycling
Along the same lines, the growing problem of e-waste is having a very real impact on our world from an environmental and ethical point of view. Mercury, lead, copper and cadmium are just some of the harmful chemicals that are fine when performing important functions in our electronics, but become a very real hazard to the environment when they leak into surrounding soil and water supplies. These
chemicals come from everything from TVs, computers, laptops, LCD screens, mobile phones, tablets, batteries and more – and many of these electronics don’t even need to be thrown away, they can be recycled!
In fact, the manufacturing process for a single computer and monitor involves 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water. Imagine all of the resources we could be saving by simply reusing these devices instead of making everyone buy a brand new one! In an era and state where water shortages are becoming the norm and ways to reduce fuel consumption are a top priority, the reduction of e-waste through electronics recycling is an ethical imperative for us to protect our natural resources.
While environmental considerations are of the utmost importance, there’s also a huge moral and ethical stake in electronics recycling. Wealthier nations like the United States have long been wrapped in the controversy of sending electronic waste to landfills in poorer nations. What’s the problem with the United States handing over electronic waste to third world countries if they’re happy to take them? Laborers in these landfills smash, crack, melt and cook the electronics to try to salvage all kinds of materials from gold to plastics, but in the process they release all kinds of hazardous chemicals in a completely uncontrolled way. Not only does this affect the surrounding environment, but real human beings. A study published by Environmental Health Perspectives found children in the Chinese village of Guiyu – where many people work in electronics landfills – had lead levels 50% higher than those in surrounding villages and far higher than safety limits set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many of you probably already know, lead is known to cause brain damage.
If you’re concerned about your reputation and sense of self-conscience as a global citizen, you probably will feel a little disturbed that your old electronics could be poisoning people in the poorest villages of poorer nations who are already at a disadvantage to begin with. If you’re interested in reading more about these issues, check out these articles: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trashed-tech-dumped-overseas/, http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132204954/after-dump-what-happens-to-electronic-waste
Where Corporations and Households Fit in to Electronics Recycling
At Direct Resource Management, our overriding mission as a certified R2 and ISO 14001 electronics recycler is to be the solution to these serious e-waste problems in our world. We’re on a mission to battle environmental pollution and exploitation of poorer countries through our long-perfected craft of professional electronics recycling.
In fact, we make it as effortless as possible for our customers to recycle their electronics, even sending our staff and vehicles to your location to pick up large amounts of electronics when it’s not cost-prohibitive for us. For individuals with just one or a few electronics, we have an easy drop-off program at our easy-to-find facility in San Leandro. We know you also want to do your part to improve our world, so we try to make it as simple as possible for you with logistical support.
For corporations, there are a range of other serious concerns: data destruction, data privacy, device destruction, resale of surplus electronics, logistics for recycling a lot of electronics, etc. In these cases, we’re happy to take care of all the logistics from start to finish by sending our own crews to remove the electronics from the business place, and we always follow the highest of data destruction standards set forth by the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
All of the data on any device you bring us will be completely and irrecoverably destroyed, so you won’t have to worry about lawsuits or liability, nor information about customers, employees, or your business getting into the wrong hands. In addition, we can completely destroy electronics and other products if your company needs to protect its proprietary designs or information.
Finally, in many cases we can help companies resell their surplus electronics and pass on some of the revenue back to the client. Not only will you be doing a great service by recycling your electronics, you can even get paid for it!
Next Steps for Electronics Recycling
Ready to get started with your electronics recycling project? Let’s get started! Our friendly staff of experts is ready to help you get things figured out with just a simple email or phone call. If you have any additional questions after reading this guide, we’re of course more than happy to help you get the answers you need. Give us a call or send us an email today!