The 4 R's to Greener E-Scrap Disposal

April is all about “green”: from signs of spring sprouting up in our gardens to celebrations of Earth Day today. It’s the perfect time to think about reducing our carbon footprints. And when it comes to technology (think of all that electronic equipment you and your business own), it’s even more important to plan how you’re going to dispose of these items properly, when the time comes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “in 2005, used or unwanted electronics amounted to approximately 1.9 to 2.2 million tons. Of that, about 1.5 to 1.9 million tons were primarily discarded in landfills, and only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled.”

There are things we all can do, especially in the workplace, when disposing of electronics.

Here are the 4 R’s to Greener E-Scrap Disposal

1. Reincorporate. Whenever possible, reincorporate equipment that’s in good shape with any newer equipment and set-ups. At Shanahan, we encourage clients to keep their good equipment, even when they have “new system” in mind. We take the time to create a thoughtful design that incorporates the older equipment with the new so that you won't even notice the difference! Bottom line? Keep what works (this will save you money as well).

2. Re-Gift. From desktops to laptops to cell phones to speakers to mixing consoles to you-name-it, there are many great organizations that welcome your equipment as a donation. For example, according to its website, the Cristina Foundation “is a nonprofit organization that matches donated computer equipment with needy schools and nonprofit organizations around the world.” Cell Phones for Soldiers was started by a 13-year-old girl from Massachusetts who wanted to make give people’s old cell phones for soldiers serving our country overseas. Some computer manufacturers offer buy-back programs, and don’t forget to look into donation programs for printer cartridges.

3. Recycle. If you can’t donate your electronics equipment, you’ll need to make sure you properly dispose of these items (i.e. not in dumps or landfills). The EPA website lists numerous resources for recycling programs on its website, including links on finding a local program in your city or town. The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) hosts a site called E-cycling Central, which allows you to see electronics recycling resources for all 50 states.

4. Realize that we all must do our part--at home and at work. At Shanahan Sound, we reincorporate equipment whenever possible, we donate when that makes sense, and everyone on our wonderful staff makes every effort to recycle.