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1) Computers and other types electronic equipment are constantly being updated, redesigned and improved, resulting in more electronic waste as the older, out of date equipment becomes obsolete. Because most office buildings, are filled with such items it is important for the business owner to be aware of his or her options when disposing of older or broken equipment. Thankfully, there is really no need for a large waste stream in regards to electronics.
2) Even if an older electronic cannot be reused, most pieces of equipment are compiled using a multitude of recyclable parts. Take the personal computer for example. Typically, three main parts combined result in the PC:
a) The computer (the box containing the processor, disk
drive, modems, RAM, power supply, etc)
b) Monitor (usually referred to as the screen, it is the portion of the computer that displays information. Also called a CRT or cathode ray)
c) Keyboard (resembles a typewriting keyboard)
3) Most every part of a computer can be recycled. Certain companies can use the parts of an older model to creative the new computer model. Parts such as the glass screen, copper wiring, plastics, processor, etc. do not have to be added to the waste stream. Even if the computer is non-functioning, some of the components may be able to be donated and refurbished in a newer model of PC.
4) Be sure to do your research when recycling your company’s older computers and electronics. Not every company can recycle every part of an electronic. You may find that some charge fees due to hazardous materials that can be found within computers and other equipment (such as lead). Other companies, however, may specialize in the recycling of monitors or other parts and would therefore not charge a fee.
Considerations When Choosing to Dispose
1) Should you decide not to recycle, there are important considerations to make. Depending on what type of electronic(s) you have, you may have to pay special attention to regulations under the RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act).
2) Those disposing of solid waste that contains such hazardous or toxic materials as lead or barium (among others) are required by the RCRA to test these components to prove them non toxic. If the electronics are not tested they must be assumed hazardous and may only be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. They may also be recycled.
4) Land fills are generally not the best method for ridding your office of its broken or out of date electronic equipment. This is due to multiple reasons:
a) These items are extremely recyclable. There is really no need to dispose of them at all when they can we reused or recycled.
b) The toxic matter found in computers and other electronics pose a large threat to the environment when dumped or disposed of improperly. For example, drinking water supplies can be negatively affected by hazardous material that is left in a landfill.
c) Should you choose to neither dump nor recycle your old electronics, you always have the option of donating to organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
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