What To Look For In An Electronic Recycler

  • certified electronics recycling A serious threat is posed by electronic waste to both the population and the environment, when disposed off incorrectly. The fastest growing segment of waste in the industrialized world is represented by e-waste or electronic waste. Recycling your old electronics helps to keep your organization and home free from the heap of old equipments, helping to create a safer, healthier and cleaner environment.

    As a part of an organisation and as an individual, when we improperly dispose off hazardous waste, we become responsible for the damage that is being created. Responsible e-waste recycling means how the material is processed, who is doing the processing and being careful about where your e-waste is taken for recycling.

    Laws and regulations

    Electronic recyclers are not made equally. Before you decide to drop off your e-waste with the hope of having it properly recycled and processed, there are certain things that need to be asked. Responsible recyclers should provide written documentation on various aspects of recycling process.

    Downstream Processors

    The use of outside mills or processors will be needed to employ by most recyclers. It will further process the recycled material into a raw material. Now, these are ready to be sent back into the process of manufacturing. Recyclers must have written documentation of the processors used to grind, smell, melt or mill the materials into a useable manufacturing material, in order to recycle within the confines of the law. It is illegal to send electronics for processing overseas.

    Documented Operating Procedures

    The procedures and written policies that govern how electronics are processed will be made available upon request by a responsible electronic recycling company. The policies are created in order to ensure the protection of environment, safety of workers, and efficient and effective recycling of all electronic components.
    Sensitive Data

    Cell phones, PDA's, computers and other electronic devices contain personal and sensitive information. All memory containing devices including disks, flash drives, drives and cell phones will be shredded by a reputable electronic recycler. A third party organisation should always certify electronic recyclers. Documentation of the physical destruction of any electronic media is provided by the electronic recycler.

    Many companies today are making the effort to "go green" by recycling their electronic devices, and they should be commended for doing so. However, mobile phone reuse and recycling is about more than sending your used phones to a recycling center or simply selling them to reseller companies through an online web site.

    Now more than ever, it is important for businesses to research their current electronics recycling companies and their certifications to make certain that their organization's mobile and other electronic devices are handled properly. Not doing so can be disastrous, not only to the environment, but also to their brand.

    While many electronic buyback and recycling companies appear to be committed to protecting the environment, organizations may be shocked to find out where their e-waste may be ending up. According to the EPA, 70 to 80 percent of "reputable" recyclers send e-waste (circuit boards, batteries, broken electronic devices, monitors) to villages in developing countries where the use of cheap and sometimes slave labor is used to reclaim precious metals at the cost of poisoning the environment and the local population.

    Communities are being destroyed by the e-waste shipped from electronics recyclers in the United States. Entire families, including children, are forced to breathe the toxic fumes from burning electronics and from acid baths used to extract precious metals from circuit boards, resulting in horrible health consequences and sometimes death.

    In addition to the impact e-waste has on developing nations, businesses should also be concerned by the data security threat associated with the improper handling of their electronic devices. With the escalating use of corporate-liable smartphones and tablets in the workforce, vast amounts of sensitive data is stored on mobile devices. It is essential that enterprises do diligent research their mobile recycling partners data wiping processes and security measures. Key areas to investigate are device-specific data wiping processes, e-Stewards and R2 certifications, quality assurance texting, 3rd party forensic auditing, liability insurance, hiring practices and facility security.

    In order to combat these issues, the Basel Action Network, which is the organization responsible for ending overseas electronic dumping in every developed nation besides the United States, created the e-Stewards Certification.

    certified electronics recycling The e-Stewards certification is the leading global standard for electronic recycling. When a recycling company is e-Stewards Certified, one can be assured they uphold the highest standards for environmental protection, mobile data security and worker safety. To become e-Stewards certified, companies must go through rigorous annual audits.

    Did you happen to catch the episode on Electronics Recycling on 60 Minutes on Sunday, November 9th? This story by correspondent Scott Pelley is about how your best intentions to be green can cause electronic waste to be channeled into an underground sewer that flows from the United States and into third world countries.

    As it turns out, there are some so-called "recyclers" out there that instead of recycling electronics responsibly, they send electronic waste - specifically monitors overseas, instead of recycling responsibly domestically. It is illegal to export used monitors overseas without a special permit. Computer monitors contain toxins that must be handled properly. Yet 60 Minutes found these illegally recycled monitors were thrown into acres of land outside Hong Kong. To make matters worse, these monitors were being broken down by peasants without the proper tools or protection to do so.

    Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network (BAN) said, "Women were heating circuit boards over a coal fire, pulling out chips and pouring off the lead solder. Men were using what is literally a medieval acid recipe to extract gold. Pollution has ruined the town." Furthermore, Scientists have studied the area and discovered that the town has the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. They found pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage, and that seven out of ten kids have too much lead in their blood.

    These unscrupulous recyclers need to be stopped and put out of business! They are responsible for polluting the very same environment which they claim to save.

    So, does this mean that we stop recycling? Of course not! What we have to do is be more careful with whom we recycle. Is the recycler reputable and will they be responsible? Here are some tips on choosing your next recycler:

    * Look into their management team - if they began their careers in the garbage business or in the used electronics business then you can be certain that they have little regard for globally beneficial recycling methods.

    * Do they have a "no land fill" policy?
    Do they certify that all components will be re-used and will comply with all local, state and federal guidelines? What certifications do they offer?

    * Do they have a complete audit trail?
    If required; can they produce a document outlining the "chain of custody" of your electronics?

    * Can they offer government references?
    Have they been able to successfully handle government electronics and data destruction needs?

    certified electronics recycling Even though there are unscrupulous recyclers out there, that does not mean that they are all bad. Do your homework, continue to recycle responsibly and do your share. Mother Nature will thank you!