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Proper E-Waste Management Practices for Sustainable Asset Management Solutions

1. Introduction

The way we manage e-waste is an indicator of a commitment our society makes to sustainable living and, more importantly, sustainable development. It is important that we are mindful of this in seeking solutions to this issue. A commitment to better managing e-waste implies finding the most environmentally and socially responsible solution, rather than the most convenient or most tax effective. It is environmentally and socially responsible behavior that we are seeking to promote.

The e-waste problem is a complex and multi-dimensional issue, far too great a problem for one person or organization to take on alone. It is also an issue that encompasses any regulation, policy, behavior, and purchasing or procurement decision of every individual and organization in every industry or government system. Therefore, effective sustainable asset management is required. It will require a united effort, and effective results will only be achieved through seeking practical and innovative solutions.

E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. Unfortunately, electronic discards are one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste stream. An estimated 70% of heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics. E-waste is a serious environmental issue and needs to be addressed.

2. Professional and Safe HDD Disposal

The HDDs containing sensitive information from old PCs require careful attention when it comes to data disposal. The law requires safe methods of data erasure and the safe disposal of information storage devices. Under the penalty of fines up to $50,000 per violation, including fines up to $50,000 per violation and imprisonment. It is best to look for a service provider who specializes in data capture and migration services. This is because a service provider with these specialties will often have the advanced technology and software required for complete data erasure and sometimes offer this as a standalone service. By utilizing data erasure services, customers can maintain peace of mind knowing that their information is now and forever unrecoverable. This is often a critical requirement when PC components are being prepared for resale, as the PC may be reallocated with or without the person who originally was using it. In addition to the data erasure, a destruction service will ensure the HDDs are physically damaged to the extent that they are unusable or beyond repair. This is usually done through a process of crushing and then disposal to a smelting furnace. High-end services can actually granulate the material down to its raw materials. This can now be considered recycling, but the HDDs are raw materials and not information storage devices. SAMS offers professional & safe HDD disposal in line with governmental and environmental standards to ensure health and safety.

3. R2 Certification: Ensuring Responsible E-Waste Management

It is important for endorsers of environmentally sound management practices to support sustainable projects such as responsible recycling, refurbishing, and commodity harvesting, and to discourage exports of end-of-life equipment to developing countries. This situation undermines environmental protection in those countries and often exploits both the people who dismantle the equipment and the children who often work to recover extremely small amounts of materials in an unsafe manner. The R2 standard provides a foundation to generate this transformation in favor of sustainable solutions and prevention of exposing our old equipment problems to others. Stricter environmental controls are needed to prevent any further export of toxic e-waste and to prevent “back-door” access of hazardous materials intended for recycling. This will improve the quality of life everywhere, prevent adverse environmental impacts, and increase job security.

R2 certification is an environment-friendly standard for electronics recyclers to upgrade their operations to benefit the environment, worker’s health, and safety. This standard focuses on methods to minimize the reception of dangerous substances by using recycled materials, secure re-use and recycling materials, limit the discharge of hazardous substances into the environment, dispose of materials in an environmentally safe manner, and handle e-waste. To become R2 certified, recyclers are required to conform with these practices. The certification is a third-party audited program that is strict, difficult, and comprehensive. Certified recyclers are listed on SERI’s website and are subject to scheduled and unscheduled surveillance audits to ensure compliance. Any service with the R2 standard is shown on SERI’s website and is available to the public. SAMS is an r2 certified company, compliant with important standards which ensure that their e-waste management practices are safe and effective.

4. Recycle and Disposal of Laptops

Laptops are a common form of electronic waste due to the technological advancements in recent years. You should never throw a laptop in the garbage as the toxins in laptops can leak in landfill and cause damage to the environment. The safest way to recycle a laptop is to use a manufacturer’s takeback program. Many big name companies such as Apple, Sony, and Dell have takeback programs where they will dispose of the laptop in an environmentally friendly manner and many times they will put the value of the old laptop towards purchasing a new one off of them. By going through the manufacturer the laptop can sometimes be refurbished and sold. For more information about the process of recycle & disposal laptop, contact the team at SAMS.

5. Choose Sustainable Asset Management Solutions for E-Waste Management

E-waste is a very complex problem, and several considerations are needed to choose the best solution for managing it. Usually, for companies that already use the service of lease to own, recycling is an unfavorable choice because it can harm the company that leases the material due to potential loss of material that is being recycled. Qualified refurbishment with operational guarantee is the best choice for these companies because it can maintain or increase the material value, ensure data security, and can return some materials to the lease owner for replacement. For companies that have considered donating the material, choosing an NPO or social return program for e-waste management is the suitable choice. E-waste donation to unqualified agents or material collectors can have a negative impact because many materials have not reached the end of life condition and could still be usable. So the materials may be discarded for recycling or worse, sent to a landfill. The worst choice for e-waste management is to ask workers to move all e-waste to the nearest landfill, as it can solve the e-waste problem temporarily but can cause a bigger negative impact on the environment and health.

The e-waste issue has become a global concern, as proven by many international regulations and voluntary programs to manage e-waste, as well as the differing standards of each country regarding hazardous materials and waste. The presence of international treaties or country regulations about hazardous materials in electrical goods is a pointer for companies to minimize the level of e-waste. And because the discontinuation of assets is inevitable for each company, an EPR program or any program that shifts the responsibility of e-waste from end users to the companies that produce the goods is a wise choice in managing e-waste for asset management companies that choose this solution.

By choosing sustainable practices, companies and management can achieve a new level of sustainable asset management by aligning business and social responsibility to meet green objectives. The idea is to achieve optimal financial benefits for used computers and electronics, eliminating any negative social and environmental impact.

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