Answers to Your eWaste Questions
Businesses produce volumes of eWaste every day. Is your company contributing to the growing eWaste problem? In this blog, we answer your eWaste questions.
Q: What is eWaste?
A: Electronic waste or eWaste is the name for discarded electronic products that are unwanted or have reached the end of their lifespan. The world generates 50 million tons of electronic waste a year, contributing to our planet’s deepening environmental crisis.
Q: How does eWaste harm the environment?
A: Materials such as antimony, arsenic, lead, and mercury are used to manufacture electronics. When these materials are disposed of improperly, they pollute our air, waterways, and soil. As a result, wildlife, plant life and our natural resources suffer. These materials also pose a serious threat to human health.
Q: Are there eWaste recycling laws?
A: Currently, there is no federal law regulating the disposal of eWaste, but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 25 state governments track the eWaste disposal practices of companies.
Q: Is it safe to donate my old electronic devices?
A: Donating your old devices to charities or allowing your employees to buy used electronics is risky because your data can be recovered from them. Plus, the liability for environmental hazards could fall back on your company if the devices aren’t recycled at the end of their lifecycles. The safest way to protect your organization is to partner with a legally-compliant eWaste recycler.
Q: How does an eWaste recycling service work?
A: With an eWaste recycling service, your eWaste recycling provider comes to your business and collects your unwanted electronics. If sensitive data is stored on your devices, your provider destroys them on site with a mobile shredding vehicle. Your eWaste is transported to an authorized recycler and you receive documentation showing proof of recycling. At the recycling facility, your devices are either refurbished, harvested for reuse or resale, or turned into usable raw materials to make other products.
Q: How do I choose an eWaste recycling company?
A: Since many companies illegally export unprocessed electronics containing hazardous and toxic materials to developing countries, it’s important to choose a reputable eWaste recycling provider. Partner with a company that has a “No Export” policy so you know your electronic waste is recycled legally and safely. Make sure your eWaste recycling provider works closely with the following organizations:
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Department of Natural Resources
- e-Steward Initiative
- Local solid waste departments