Three Ways to Reduce E-Waste for Your Office

By | Posted February 20th, 2013

In 2010, the United States disposed of nearly 2,440,000 tons of waste generated from electronic devices. 649,000 of these tons were recycled, while an astounding 1,790,000 were thrown into landfills or incinerated. These disused electronics have come to be referred to colloquially as “E-Waste.” Environmentally-conscious business owners the world over are finding new ways to reduce their E-Waste output. How can you make these methods work for your business?

ewaste

Implementing an effective E-Waste management policy is an essential first step in reducing your output. This policy should be as widespread as possible and outline detailed instructions for managing the end-of-life cycle for your company’s electronics.

Change the Way You Purchase Electronics

Start by rethinking how you purchase electronics. In order to begin reducing your company’s E-Waste, electronics you purchase should not only meet your company’s functional needs, they should also have clear policies in place for the end of their life cycle.

Some manufacturers offer return programs through which your company’s electronic equipment can be returned at the end of its life cycle. The manufacturer then reuses, refurbishes, or recycles the equipment, depending on its state. If you can start out by purchasing electronics from companies already employing such policies, managing them in an environmentally-friendly way after your company has finished using them will be much easier.

But it’s probable you won’t be able to purchase all of your company’s electronics from such manufacturers. In this case, you should still come to the purchasing table equipped with a working knowledge of your state’s electronics recycling policies. Knowing these before you buy will help to ensure you purchase electronics that are easily recycled, saving you time and hassle down the road.

Repair, Donate, Recycle

As soon as your company receives those slick, new electronics devices, it’s a good idea to consider what you’re going to do with them once they start running into problems.

The first thing you should try to do is repair any electronics you can. In some cases, this may seem fiscally irresponsible, but it is a crucial step for reducing your company’s E-Waste output.

Say your old copier has broken down for the last time; you’ve just got to get it out of the office or you might have a mutiny on your hands. How do you do it?

If the machine is still in working order, why not consider donating it to a local institution that’s probably handling less volume than your company? Stop by a local church, thrift store, or school and see if they’d have a use for the device. If so, not only have you reduced your company’s E-Waste output—you’ve also helped an institution in need.

But if that old clunker just refuses to turn on, or if no one in your area wants to touch it with a ten foot pole, it’s time to recycle the beast. Luckily you’re already armed with your state’s policies in this regard. You can use specially-geared search engines to locate your closest recycling center. Or if you just don’t have the time, you may want to consider consulting a company to take care of the entire process for you. Either way, kiss that old copier goodbye; it’s off to a better place.

ewaste2

Use Your Equipment Differently

Armed with some handy new equipment, you’ve set out a solid end of life plan and you’re well on your way to reducing your company’s E-Waste. But there’s one final step. Now that you’ve got all these new electronics, you can actually use them in different ways to reduce your company’s impact.

It’s easy to find ways to do this. Change your printer, copier, and scanner settings to print on both sides of the page (this will dramatically reduce your company’s paper output); digitize files to reduce printing to a minimum; and purchase only recycled toner cartridges.

These three tips combined will dramatically reduce your company’s E-Waste output.

ewaste3

Reducing global E-Waste begins with business owners and individuals taking stock of what they use, how much they use, and how they could use in a more environmentally-conscious way. Implementing a strong E-Waste management policy in your company is not only good for the planet; it’s also a strong selling point to potential clients. Environmental consciousness is simply a must-have for companies, as a significant percentage of consumers rank it as relevant when choosing to do business with a company. By taking a long look at your company’s policies and updating them if necessary, you can ensure your company helps both the environment and itself.