Nothing seems to go out of fashion faster than the latest technology. Long before television sets stop working, computers crash, or smartphone batteries give out, they become obsolete and need to be replaced by the latest and greatest hardware with the new features. Even at your average Connecticut small business, obsolete computer hardware tends to clutter up the storeroom as monitors, workstations, and network equipment are upgraded.
What do you do with all that outdated hardware? You can’t just throw electronic waste out with the trash. Recycling e-waste is the way to go—it’s good for business as well as for the environment.
Connecticut Addresses the E-waste Problem
Nearly 100 percent of e-waste can be recycled into its constituent parts—plastics, metals and gas. Unfortunately, very little e-waste actually makes it to the recyclers.
Connecticut is dealing with the problem by implementing a statewide electronics recycling program through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). In about five years since its inception, the DEEP e-waste program recycled 45,500 tons of electronic devices, resulting in a savings of $4 million in disposal costs for Connecticut municipalities.
Every business also needs to understand the legal risk of failing to properly dispose of electronic equipment. A white paper from Chubb insurance and risk management indicates companies open themselves to environmental, health, and safety risks without electronics recycling. They could face heavy fines and remediation costs from improper waste classifications. Improper handling of e-waste can also lead to worker exposure to hazardous materials, as well as fines for pollutants leaching into the soil and water. Even improper transportation of e-waste and recycled electronics leaves companies open to legal action and heavy fines.
In fact, to make it easier to recycle e-waste, Connecticut was one of the first states to pass an e-waste law. It stipulates that everyone will have a convenient and free means of recycling computers, printers, televisions, monitors, and other items. In addition, retailers need to provide information about recycling and can only sell products from manufacturers registered with DEEP.
E-waste Costs You Money
Electronics, especially business equipment, are costly, and small businesses, in particular, tend to hang on to office equipment until it fails. In the world of computing, however, technology becomes obsolete quickly, usually before the hardware fails. It’s common practice for companies to upgrade their old CRTs to flat screen monitors or retire their old computers for faster laptops, then store the old equipment “just in case.” The result is a storeroom of moldering electronics that will never be used again.
Office space, even storage space, is costly. Consider the cost of office space per square foot, then think about how much office space outdated electronics are taking up. It makes more sense to clean house, recycle the old electronics, and reclaim that space.
It’s Always Time to Recycle
A number of locations in Connecticut handle e-waste. Some companies pick up for a nominal fee, and others accept e-waste for free if you drop it off. Here are some resources to help you find locations across the state that can handle your e-waste:
- E-waste pickup: Companies such as Green Monster in West Hartford and All Green Electronics Recycling collect e-waste for a nominal fee and accept free drop-offs. When choosing a pickup service, make sure to check to see the reliability and security of their services. Green Monster, for example, ensures that all hard drives are wiped clean to prevent data theft.
- E-waste drop off: Most locations accept e-waste for drop off, and Connecticut law stipulates no fee for dropping off electronics for recycling. You also can watch for recycling events in your area. A number of organizations such as Take2 coordinate electronics recycling events across the state.
- Connecticut DEEP: DEEP maintains a list of electronics recycling drop-off locations by municipality, including hours of operation so you can always find a place to drop off outdated electronics.
- Easy access to e-cycling: If you are looking for a master list of recycling options, check out E-cycling Central, which maintains a list of electronics recyclers across the state, including non-profits as well as national and local service providers.
- Office supply stores: Major office supply chains such as Staples handle smaller electronic recyclables, such as cell phones, printer cartridges, cordless phones, and desktop printers.
As E-waste recycling has become a big business, here is sure to be a recycling center in your area. Either call for a pickup or take a moment and haul away those outdated computers, printers, and monitors. Electronics recycling is good for the planet, and it will be good for your Connecticut business as well.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 by Jay from the NSI Help Desk and has been revamped and updated for comprehensiveness.