One of the fastest-growing forms of waste in the U.S. is electronic equipment. Unfortunately, only 15% to 20% of outdated electronic equipment is recycled properly. The remaining 80% to 85% usually ends up at landfills where chemicals such as lead, mercury, and chromium seep into the water supply. It should go without saying that responsible recycling of old electronic equipment needs be a part of every green IT plan.
The first step you should take when deciding what to do with outdated equipment is to determine if it should be reused or recycled. If the equipment is less than five years old, you should consider donating it to an organization which will refurbish it and provide it to schools or charities. If the equipment is older than five years or is broken, it should be sent to a reputable computer recycler who will salvage reusable parts and safely remove and dispose of hazardous chemicals. You can find a list of refurbishers and recyclers as well as other helpful information on disposing of e-waste at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site.
Jim Lippie Vice-President, Sales and Service Staples Technology Solutions Concord, Mass.