Anyone who has been through a major equipment upgrade at the office knows how much of a relief it can be once everything arrives and is installed.
However, one important question looms … what do I do with the old equipment?
Disposing of a single cell phone, computer or circuit board likely doesn’t seem as overwhelming as coordinating the safe disposal of electronic waste from an entire department or company.
The good news is safely disposing of e-waste is easier than you think. In the state of California, there are several resources available to ensure you are meeting all disposal guidelines.
Businesses that only have a few pieces of electronic waste to dispose of can take advantage of designated facilities that offer a drop-off option.
CalRecycle provides a directory on its website that offers the names and addresses of companies and organizations that participate in the Covered Electronic Waste Recovery and Recycling Program.
The site is easy to use and allows you to search by county or city or by entering your address. Before making the trek to one of these locations, however, it is important that you contact the facility to determine whether it accepts the item you need to dispose of. There may be potential charges you should take note of as well.
Although some sites may offer to recycle electronics, not all recycle the same products. Many also have drop-off quantity limits, which can impact your ability to drop off large quantities of electronics should your office be experiencing a major upgrade in equipment.
Here is something else to keep in mind should you choose this route. Although drop-off facilities are convenient for those who have a limited number of electronics that need recycled, this choice may end up being more inconvenient if you have to make several trips to the facility.
California law places a limit on the amount of waste you are legally allowed to transport to a collection site. That means if you have more than 125 pounds of hazardous waste, you can take it all to a disposal site in one trip … even if you can fit it all into one truck load.
While dropping off your e-waste may seem like a simple solution, there’s an even easier option available that offers additional benefits.
If you have a large quantity of e-waste you need to dispose of, a certified waste disposal company may be the better choice.
For example, if you are installing new computers in every office of your facility, making a trip to a drop-off location can be difficult and create headaches. Instead, a waste disposal company can pick up your equipment, deliver it safely to a disposal facility and ensure the entire process is completed safely.
One of the most frustrating aspects of disposing of your e-waste yourself is that you may need to make multiple trips to multiple facilities.
As noted above, some facilities only collect certain types of e-waste. If you have multiple types of e-waste, such as computers and batteries, you may need to make trips to different facilities … and finding the facilities that accept your waste can be time-consuming.
A waste disposal company certified in safe e-waste removal may be able to accept items that some drop-off facilities cannot, including spent batteries or mercury-containing thermostats.
While it may seem obvious whether an item is an electronic device, there are actually some devices not considered hazardous.
For example, aluminum is a valuable metal that is found in most electronics. It is generally considered to be safe. However, when aluminum is paired with a material that does pose a contamination risk, the entire piece of equipment is considered hazardous.
E-waste may vary by state as well. California has stricter rules than many other states regarding what is considered hazardous and what is not. In fact, California was the first state to institute e-waste laws.
A disposal company with experience in e-waste management can help you determine what can be safely disposed of on your own and what requires hazardous waste disposal by law.
Disposal of old equipment can produce downtime among employees. Waste disposal companies can respond to your needs in a timely manner so that you can move forward with your new equipment.
Setting up ongoing disposal options can be helpful as well if your company produces e-waste on a regular basis. This will provide peace of mind that your e-waste is being taken care of not only quickly, but responsibly and safely.
Although the above two options provide the easy and safe disposal of electronic waste, it’s important that you never take chances with e-waste removal and disposal. Doing so can produce consequences that could harm both your business and the environment.
In 2017, for example, Big Lots was ordered to pay $3.5 million for illegal disposal of hazardous materials that included electronic devices and other types of e-waste.
It is critical for a business to know any federal, state and local laws regarding e-waste. A reputable hazardous waste disposal company that has experience in electronic waste disposal can assist you in managing your current e-waste and any waste you may generate in the future.
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