Manufacturing electronic devices is not a simple task, and the effects on the environment are more impactful than you might think. The use of rare minerals and plastics, such as silicon, aluminum, copper, lead and gold, take away a huge amount of energy from the Earth.
Although most business are steering away from paper waste as everything gets digitalized, they’re still creating waste. Most of today’s business are responsible for creating electronic waste, also known as e-waste, which includes all electronic devices that are eventually not needed or thrown away when a new device comes along.
Below are four ways your business can minimize e-waste to reduce the amount of energy taken away from the Earth, conserve precious resources and make your business green and environmentally friendly.
Instead of buying one electronic device for every need in your office, look for electronics with multiple functions. For example, you don’t need a copy machine, printer, fax machine and scanner when you can purchase a 4-in-1 product that can do all these tasks.
Just because there is a new iPhone out doesn’t mean all the employees in your company need to upgrade their work phones. Make smart decisions when purchasing new laptops and tablets, and do as much repairing and upgrading as possible instead of purchasing a replacement.
If you’re looking for appliances for your business, look for products that are Energy Star-certified to ensure efficient use of energy and water. For example, if you need a new refrigerator for your office kitchen, Sears’ website lets you narrow your search parameters by Energy Star-compliant appliances, so you know what your options are. By purchasing from an eco-conscious company, you will be more rest assured you’re doing your part to conserve Earth’s resources.
It’s inevitable that your business will eventually have e-waste to dispose of. When the time comes, it’s crucial to ensure proper disposal. If you’re getting rid of old batteries or a device that has ceased to work, find a certified and reputable e-waste recycling center. Make sure the recycler you choose is very clear with its policies regarding elimination of e-waste and how it destructs the sensitive data on your company’s devices. A reputable company, such as Electronic Recyclers International, guarantees customers that all of the data will be destructed and remain confidential.
According to the Harvard University Sustainability department, the amount of energy we would save if we used recycled cellphones to create new ones instead of mining or creating the precious metals and plastics is equivalent to flipping off the power to 24,000 homes in the United States for a whole year. So recycle, recycle, recycle.
If it’s a used electronic that still works but is no longer needed for your business, find a social program that collects and refurbishes donated electronics for non-profits. For example, if you have an HP desktop computer, printer or ink cartridge that you’re getting rid of, sending it back to HP gives you the opportunity to donate any residual value left on your device to the World Wildlife Fund.