Answers to Common Electronics Recycling Questions
Why Should I Recycle?
Most electronic consumers in the United States do not realize the impact of e-waste on the local and world environments; they simply view their obsolete electronics as trash. According to the Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) 2009 statistics, 3.19 million tons of e-waste was generated, and this number continues to grow.1 These electronics contain materials such as antimony, arsenic, lead, and mercury that are unhealthy to us. It is surprisingly easy for these materials to ultimately end up in our bodies and cause major issues including lung damage, cancer, and seizures.
One color monitor alone contains 6 ½ pounds of lead and measurable amounts of cadmium, mercury and other toxic metals. At Securis, EVERY PART of your electronic assets is recycled. Each item is strategically and securely dismantled. All toxic elements are responsibly disposed of, and all remaining metals, plastics, glass and circuitry is processed domestically.
What Items are Considered to be Electronics?
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): televisions, monitors, computers, computer peripherals, audio and stereo equipment, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras, telephones, facsimiles, copying machines, cellular phones, wireless devices and video game consoles are primary examples of electronics. Kitchen appliances and other household electronics can also be recycled. Securis will accept practically anything with a plug.
Why Prevent Electronics from Entering a Landfill?
Some electronic device components contain constituents that, if improperly handled, could be harmful to the environment and its inhabitants. E-waste that is not recycled ends up in the environment. Water is poisoned, air turns toxic, soil becomes dead, and wildlife and plant life suffer. Certain components of electronics contain measurable amounts of regulated heavy metals, including lead, silver, barium, cadmium and mercury. Many of these metals can be recovered and responsibly disposed of, based upon Environmental Protection Agency standards.
How Will Recycling My Obsolete Computer and/or Electronic Equipment Make a Difference?
It is estimated that of the approximately 250,000,000 tons of solid waste generated annually in the United States, around 5% is classified as e-waste.2 Of this, only an estimated 10% to 18% of electronics are recycled (according to WellHome’s 2011 Infographic).3 Securis wants to help change this for the good of our local and global environments.
What are the Outcomes if We Dispose of Electronics Improperly?
NOTICE OF VIOLATION as issued by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Failure to correct the alleged violations cited required by this NOTICE, may result in the assessment of penalties, not to exceed $27,500 per violation pursuant to Section 3008 of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 6928.
What About Donating My Electronic Assets?
Donation programs can work well if all involved parties understand the limits and liabilities associated with the transfer of equipment. Questions such as, ‘who will ensure that proprietary data is eliminated before the donation’ need to be answered prior to ownership transfer. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1993, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and many others makes all companies and organizational entities legally responsible for the protection of client privacy. Failure to effectively destroy all informational data prior to the transfer of ownership leaves an organization open to corporate liability. Securis’s Data Destruction process helps eliminate the worry of such a risk.
Isn’t My Equipment Worth Something?
With the cost of new computer equipment dropping each year, your used devices are worth less and less. The resale market for used equipment in the United States is extremely low due to regular product innovation. Simply put, older machines regularly do not fit the system requirements needed to optimally run the newest software programs. Machine upgrades have become less of a priority for most organizations, given that they can purchase a new machine cost-effectively. However, Securis recognizes that some equipment may retain some portion of its residual value. In these situations, Securis will credit a portion of the residual value back to the customer to cover recycling costs on a consignment basis.
Why Does it Cost Money to Recycle Electronics?
Materials such as antimony, arsenic, lead, and mercury used to manufacture electronics are unhealthy to us. If not recycled properly, it is surprisingly easy for these materials to ultimately end up in our bodies and cause major issues including lung damage, cancer, and seizures. E-waste that is not recycled ends up in the environment. Water is poisoned, air turns toxic, soil becomes dead, and wildlife and plant life suffer. 3
To avoid these harmful effects on both our bodies and our environment, reputable e-cycling companies provide outlets for responsible riddance of your old electronics. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, some of these companies lower their costs by exporting e-waste to countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, and China where it gets broken down by men, women, and children who are usually unprotected from the toxins. To comply with government regulations and environmental laws, e-cycling companies are resorted to charging fees to properly break down hazardous electronics.
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition gives consumers tips on how to spot a fake recycling company. They recommend finding out who is paying for the recycling cost, especially if there is no request for a small recycling fee. These fees ensure that what you are recycling is handled responsibly and complies with government regulations, including whether or not this process takes place in the United States or overseas.4