One of the more daunting/perplexing questions today is what to do with old, out-dated or no longer needed office equipment – especially electronics including computers, monitors, copiers, etc. As we all know by now, recycling is preferable to discarding in a landfill. Electronics contain toxic materials. A CRT monitor can contain up to 8 pounds of lead alone and there are hundreds of other toxic materials - chlorinated solvents, brominated flame retardants, PVC, heavy metals, plastics, gases, etc used in the process of making technology that our businesses now rely on.
Reuse Before Recycle
Equipment that no longer meets your needs, might do very well for a local non-profit or might be suitable for refurbishing. Organizations that refurbish and re-purpose computer equipment include the National Cristina Foundation or World Computer Exchange as well as some members or the e-Steward recycling network.
If your equipment can’t be reused, responsible recycling is the next best option. It would be comforting, yet naive, to believe that all “recycling” is done responsibly. To make sure yours don’t end up in an illegal dump here or shipped to a landfill in a third world country, you’ll want to find a responsible recycler and the e-Steward network can help you with that. Visit e-stewards.org to find a network member near your location. Locally (in Pittsfield, MA), the CET offers information about recycling.
For other recycling options, visit the “how-to” page at the Electronics Take Back Coalition.
Electronics Take Back focuses on 4 key points – recylcle it right, buy greener electronics, hold manufacturers accountable and promote good laws – and offers actionable information for each point.
Center For Environmental Health offers a green(er) electronics buying guide for the work place. CEH also suggests several videos that might be shared with coworkers fo help motivate them to think and act green.
Business Exchange (Bloomberg Businessweek), still in “beta,” tracks “the most relevant content for you, filtered by like-minded business professionals.” Examples of relevant topics includes Sustainable Business Practices and, for manufacturers, Green Supply Chains.
U.S. Small Business Administration Green Business Guide – “As a “green” business, you’ll not only help protect our ecosystem, but your sales could benefit among consumers who value your environmental efforts.”
The Small Business Guide to Energy Efficiency offers tips, advice, and resources to help save on energy costs including information about incentives available for making energy efficient upgrades to your facilities.
The Small Business Environmental website offers a lot of resources specifically targeted for SMBs. For example Environmental Best Management Practices focusing specifically on 10 small business models including Bakery, Landscaping, Health Care and Retail Store.
Energy Star for Small Business offers information to help you “reduce energy waste and energy costs, while protecting the earth’s environment.”