If there’s one way to keep your business abreast of the changing times, it’s keeping equipment up-to-date. Any of us who’ve worked in an office knows the importance of upgrading equipment. From being prepared to take calls to checking emails and working in the cloud without load times slowing us down, having access to the right technology enables us to be more productive during our hours on the clock.
Yet, when we upgrade our systems, we’re faced with the conundrum of what to do with all our unsightly e-waste. It takes up space, and we want it all out of sight as soon as possible. We all know the importance of recycling and obsolete technology can be particularly damaging to the environment.
Here is a little background on why you should recycle your outdated office equipment, as well as how you can unload those electronics conveniently, and perhaps, evenly profitably.
Why you should recycle old IT equipment
Electronics, even those rendered useless, are made from a number of resources that are still considered valuable—think glass, metals, plastics and even rare minerals. Many of these items require a considerable amount of energy to mine, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and depleting our natural resources.
Laptops, old cell phones, desktop computers and more all contain a significant amount of materials. Just look at these stats on e-waste recycling; at this point in time, we’re collectively recycling less than 20% of all e-waste, yet producing more and more electronics all the time.
Before you recycle
Before you drive your company’s old computers down to the e-waste drop-off location, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t leaving any sensitive data up for grabs. Be sure to wipe all hard drives and personal login information. If you’re concerned about tackling security issues on your own, consider enlisting the help of a third-party company for a pre-recycling data wipe.
You’ll also want to be sure you’ve got someone on staff responsible for tracking all equipment that goes in and out.
Where to donate or recycle your vintage tech
If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of options for recycling or donating your old equipment. If you’ve got a box of employee cell phones to unload, a good place to start is by contacting the manufacturer, as many of them offer recycling services. Sprint, Samsung, and LG all offer mail-in recycling options.
Larger stores like Best Buy and Staples offer electronics recycling, with many locations allowing for in-store drop offs for computers, televisions, mobile phones and more.
You may be able to find e-waste recycling in your local area, but there are plenty of facilities that will take your unwanted tech any day of the week. Here’s a map of certified recyclers in the United States. These facilities have been approved by the EPA and keep up with the organization’s set of standards.
Repurpose some equipment
Most businesses in the 21st century own a range of electronic equipment with varying capacities. While many staff members may not be able to work at their most productive using outdated equipment, some users who require less computing power may be able to get some more mileage out of a laptop. An older desktop may have a second life as a server used to back up data. Of course, not everything can be reused, but it’s worth considering taking advantage of “hand-me-down” equipment whenever possible.
Or, make a few bucks
If you’re not stoked about giving employees older equipment, or your existing tech just doesn’t cut it anymore, consider reselling equipment you no longer need. Exit Technologies, for example, helps services recoup the value of their business equipment—whether that’s through reselling or refurbishing what can no longer be used.
Finally, set aside some storage space for old equipment
The reason we fail to recycle or do other things that are good for us, or the planet, is because objects start taking up too much space or make a mess. Dedicating enough space for retired items as they age out of rotation allows you to make disposal efficient, without that nasty mess of tangled cords haphazardly shoved into a corner.
Whatever you decide to do with outdated equipment, don’t just throw it in the trash. As mentioned above, there are plenty of relatively easy ways to recycle your old computers, phones and yes, even that drawer full of floppy disks from the 1980s.
In 1988 Jeff Bittner founded his company in California during the computer explosion. With his expertise and management experience, Jeff spent the last 25 years focusing on taking his company Exit Technologies to the forefront of IT asset disposition companies and service high-end corporations and government clients. Eventually, Exit Technologies and Jeff relocated to the southwest Florida and their state of the art R2 certified headquarters.