You’re familiar with traditional landfill fodder — the endless paper your business has to deal with and food containers that fill up your break room trash can. You’ve probably made efforts to produce less of this type of waste with going paperless (as much as possible) and recycling what you can. But what about your electronics? These devices often end up, broken and used up, in the landfills, too. But there are better alternatives.
Plan in Advance
While upgrading across the board creates a new priority for your business (get it all up and running as soon as possible), make sure you have plans in place to recycle your old system — and not only that, but actually go through with it. This will help your old gear from aging out of use, if you donate it, and it can result in less waste around the office.
Shop Smart for Electronics
It’s easy to walk into an electronics store or peruse the web for the latest and greatest devices to use for your business. But is that always the best idea? Turns out, there are some companies that make sure the items they sell are more environmentally conscious than others — Lenovo, for example, carries notebooks, monitors, batteries and packaging that are all recyclable, which, down the road, will keep your stuff out of the landfills.
Instead of shopping for brand new electronics, start the recycling cycle yourself by vetting and buying used devices. It can be risky to do so, of course, so you’ll want to have someone on your staff who knows the ins and outs of electronics, but not only can you save some money, you can keep that particular item out of the landfill.
When you’re ready to upgrade, instead of throwing your used electronics away, load them up and donate to your local Goodwill or a similar organization. Doing so is usually a tax write-off, and it helps out your local community by providing funds when those items are purchased. Best of all, those electronic devices are kept out of landfills.
While it’s best to recycle used, broken or unused electronic devices instead of tossing them out, you need to know a few things before you add them to your local recycling bin. Most recycled electronics (up to 80 percent worldwide) wind up in Asia, where they often end up in China. Workers then dismantle them by hand, which can be a serious health and environmental risk. Instead, make sure your recycler is certified — it’s recommended to look for an e-Stewards certification (or another quality certification), which is supported by the environmental community. Those with this certification ensure that the electronics are handled in a globally responsible way.
Consider Working in the Cloud
Working in the cloud can vastly reduce the amount of computer and electronic equipment that you have on site, which means less equipment that will break, become outdated or need maintenance — all of which can save money and valuable landfill space.