September 16th is National Cleanup Day, a Chance for Everyone to Recycle Electronics and Old IT Hardware
We devote a lot of content to the need for IT hardware on our client networks, but we haven’t talked enough about where the old computers, routers, modems, etc. should go once their usefulness has waned. Well, September 16th is National Cleanup Day (actually a global observance day), giving business owners worldwide a chance to recycle electronics and “e-trash,” and do themselves and the environment a favor.
You can also call it e-waste recycling, but the important point is knowing where to recycle electronics and IT equipment that has reached its peak usefulness.
There are many resources out there that can point you in the right direction. The EPA.gov website, for one, has some great information on where you can recycle electronics in NJ.
Why Recycle Electronic Products?
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Also, donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.
Case in Point:
- Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
- For every million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
A typical computer has many negative influences on the environment, anywhere from the manufacturing of computers to the distribution of computers. This has caused many questions and awareness among individuals who are concerned with the negative influences on the environment; which may cause hurdles for the new generations to come.
Because of this, there are various ways one should manufacture, buy, use and dispose computers so the negative impact on the environment can be reduced.
Where to Donate or Recycle
Electronics and IT hardware manufacturers and retailers will offer several options to donate or recycle electronics. Search at the link to find programs developed by Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge participants.
If you are an original equipment manufacturer or retailer, learn how to join the SMM Electronics Challenge. Participation in the SMM Electronics Challenge is completely voluntary.
Turning E-trash and E-waste into E-Recyclables
E-trash/e-waste is any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture or use. E-trash is particularly odious because disposal of electronic items results in toxic waste that comes from products containing dangerous metals like lead, cadmium and mercury which can contaminate air and water when they are dumped.
Where PCs are concerned, for example, there may be lead in the cathode ray tube (CRT) and soldering compound, mercury in switches and housing, phosphor to the front of a CRT screen, mercury powder in Flat-screen backlights, and cobalt in steel components.
Concern about the environmental issues surrounding e-trash has led governments worldwide to implement laws prohibiting its disposal in landfills and issue directives on e-trash recycling.
In the European Union, for instance, some responsibility was placed back on the manufacturer in the form of directives which make them financially or physically responsible for their equipment at the end of its life (and thereby provide a competitive incentive for companies to design “greener” products).
In the United States initiatives mostly come from the private sector, such as eBay’s Rethink Initiative.
There are many other good resources out there (like Earth911.com) for where to do your computer recycling on Sept. 16 – and, throughout the year as well.
Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics:
- In the case of a computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand-new product.
- Delete all personal information from your electronics.
- Remove any batteries from your electronics; they may need to be recycled separately.
- Check for recycling facilities in your state or community.
Related Note: September 16, 2017 will also be Coastal Cleanup Day, so if you find any e-waste littering the shores, the marine life and local inhabitants will thank you to collect it and dispose of it at an e-recycling location.
Privacy and Data Theft Concerns
Privacy and data theft concerns are often-cited reasons for why people hesitate to recycle electronics. The average person may not know how to ensure a laptop’s hard drive is unreadable or that personal data has been removed from a cellphone. (eSOZO can help you with this.)
Removing this data can be done in just a few steps, and Earth911.com also has some great information and resources to help walk you through the process.
An eSOZO consultant, as well as sites like EPA.gov and Earth911.com can take you step by step through how to recycle those old electronics and feel confident that your personal information and client data won’t be compromised.
New Jersey E-Waste Recycling Locations
We’ve done a bit of leg-work for you on recycling electronics, for our friends in the NJ communities. You can click here to locate where to recycle electronic waste in NJ, and break-down e-waste recycling locations by those that:
- Are approved to de-manufacture consumer electronics;
- Are Universal Waste Handlers;
- Accept computers and monitors for refurbishing and resale or donation.
Need an Electronics Recycling Consultation?
eSOZO can help you sort out your e-waste and computer recycling cache. Call us at (888) 376-9648 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions on how and where to recycle electronics in New Jersey – and remember to put September 16th, National Cleanup Day, on your calendar!
Author: Aaron White, Date: 13th September 2017