It’s general knowledge that electronics recycling (e.g. computer recycling, monitor recycling) is subject to both state and federal regulations. It’s also generally understood that failure to follow mandatory regulations may be subject to substantial fines.
What most people don’t know, including many computer recycling companies, are the details of the state and federal regulations for electronics recycling. Or, in some cases they know the recycling regulations, but don’t want the cost or inconvenience of complying.
What this means at the individual or household level is computer monitors are left on street curbs and “energy saver” light bulbs are put in the trash when they stop working. In both cases hazardous materials are being improperly handled.
At the corporate level ignorance of regulations and indifference to electronic recycling have essentially the same consequences – hazardous materials are mishandled and the environment is compromised. The main difference at the corporate level versus a single household is the magnitude of the violations and the fines.
Computer Recycling Reality: A few years ago a Fortune 1000 company sent out a Request for Proposal for computer and monitor recycling. The CIO accepted with the low bid. When the CIO notified the other bidders, he was warned that such a low bid is a sign that the recycling will probably not comply with regulations and will end up in a river or the woods. Six months later the EPA imposed a $1.5 million fine on the company for illegal “dumping” of computers and monitors. The “recycled computers” were found in the woods.
Electronics Recycling Recommendations: To eliminate potential exposure to fines and to prevent damage to the environment, follow electronics recycling Best Practices. This includes identifying and working with a reputable, professional electronics recycling and asset recovery services. For individuals this might be through the computer recycling event in your town. For corporations this is usually the result of an extensive RFP process. Both situations require due diligence and a sense of responsibility.
This article is the first in a series of articles on the top 5 computer recycling challenges: e-waste regulations, data security, project logistics, total costs and computer recycling accountability.