Combined with increased awareness and education on the importance of e-waste recycling, convenient options like mail back programs make it easier for companies to safely dispose of e-waste.
By Michael Pauzano
Electronic waste is abundant, from outdated corporate computers to broken household appliances; however, there are many environmentally friendly options for discarding this e-waste. Among these are repair, refurbishment, or recycling.
Normally when companies upgrade their technology, regardless of the recycling avenue they choose, they call a waste disposal expert to collect and recycle the old hardware. With the pandemic causing a culture shift to remote work, it is trickier for companies to manage their e-waste, especially when some of the hardware is in employees’ homes.
Solutions today are custom-tailored to customers’ needs to help recover this hardware for safe and secure refurbishment or destruction. One avenue companies can take is ordering RecycleKits to their offices. Once all of the e-waste is collected in the office, they can be picked up onsite and securely transported it to the nearest certified Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility (TSDF), documenting every step of the process. This end-to-end service is not only convenient, but it also gives the customer peace of mind that their discarded e-waste is being handled responsibly.
Since the pandemic, however, new options have been added for collecting companies’ e-waste to be recycled. Adapting to customers’ changing needs, e-waste mail back programs have been created, allowing companies with remote workers across the country to access the same e-waste recycling or refurbishment services without collecting hardware themselves at a centralized office location.
Protecting the Environment and Ensuring Data Security
When employees are scattered around the country in different locations, asset recovery is more challenging, especially for companies that value proper disposal of their e-waste. Faced with an unexpected dilemma, companies look to recycling partners that are willing to step up to the challenge and provide customized solutions to effectively dispose of their e-waste while maintaining compliance with hazardous waste regulations and other secure data destruction requirements.
If it is not properly refurbished or recycled, e-waste is oftentimes landfilled, which can cause both environmental and data security concerns. Because electronics may contain toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, or mercury, along with other harmful materials, e-waste is classified as hazardous waste. When e-waste is landfilled, these toxins can leech into groundwater and cause severe health
issues to humans and animals. Recycling this waste, rather than landfilling it, helps protect our environment. Furthermore, many of the heavy metal elements in electronics can be effectively recycled.
Another crucial reason for recycling e-waste is data security. When companies dispose of e-waste to make room for newer equipment, they need to consider that the old equipment may contain
proprietary information that is easy to access if the e-waste is dumped or landfilled without proper data destruction. For many companies, including those that handle sensitive information like hospitals and banks, this secure data destruction is top of mind when choosing how, and with which provider, to dispose of e-waste.
Through existing and new e-waste programs, companies are responding to customers’ needs to recover remote workers’ e-waste and transport it to one of its TSDFs, which provide further assurance to customers with secure data destruction needs.
Meeting Customer Needs
A mail back program works similarly to a RecycleKits program. Companies needing to dispose of e-waste send it to an e-waste management company, where it is then refurbished or recycled in a safe and secure manner at a TSDFs. How the e-waste gets to the TSDF distinguishes the mail back program from other e-waste collection services.
Companies can order individual mail back kits, which are sent to their employees’ houses. From there, the employees place the e-waste into the box, affix a prepaid label, and ship it off to the nearest TSDF. So, instead of companies having to coordinate the logistics of collecting all e-waste in a central location for a pick-up, an, e-waste company handles it for them from the source.
The mail back program is a custom solution that avoids the challenges associated with current industry transportation shortages by relying on existing shipping infrastructure to transport the e-waste to TSDFs. Further, it expands the network of locations that can be serviced with its e-waste recycling capabilities to anywhere in the U.S. with access to shipping services.
Thus, the program meets customers where they are so they can make the same environmentally conscious decisions they have
always made, whether that is recycling, refurbishment, or secure destruction. This convenience supports customers in meeting their sustainability benchmarks and furthering their own environmental goals.
Additionally, asset tracking means that, no matter where employees are, or at which TSDF their items are processed, the company receives a record of all the material processed. From a data security and compliance standpoint, this gives customers peace of mind. The mail back program is the clear, secure choice for asset recovery in a remote work world.
Mail Back Programs: The Future of E-Waste Asset Recovery
As remote work continues to be a popular option for many companies, we are seeing a sustained demand for the mail back asset recovery program. This program has proven useful in work-from-home settings, but it has also increased flexibility across the board for customers. The mail back program allows companies to dispose of e-waste on an as-needed basis in the case of employee turnover or other small-scale needs. This, in turn, reduces the need to store old e-waste in offices until it is time for a larger pick-up.
Additionally, companies are continuing to adapt the mail back program to its customers’ needs and strict data security and environmental regulations. Some of these increased security measures to further protect against data breaches could include expanded tracking capabilities and tamper-proof boxes and tape to make transporting the e-waste by mail as secure as a pick-up. Combined with increased awareness and education on the importance of e-waste recycling, convenient options like the mail back program make it easier for companies to safely dispose of e-waste. | WA
Michael Pauzano has been with Clean Earth for more than nine years. He is the Facility Manager of two facilities—Clean Earth’s E-Waste Facility and TSDF both located in Allentown, PA. He has extensive experience in the industry and possesses particular knowledge regarding the recycling of e-waste and surrounding trends. Michael can be reached at [email protected].