What Happens to Your High-Tech Trash and Why You Should Care

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Business

What Happens to Your High-Tech Trash and Why You Should Care










Several years ago National Geographic ran an article that talked about where electronic equipment ends up after being “tossed” and it was a jarring story to read. Much of the equipment from Europe and some US companies ended up in several countries in Africa where young children and poor adults burn the equipment then strip parts that contain copper and gold to sell to scrap metal buyers for pennies or a few dollars. Burning the electronics emits toxic gases into the air and when the rains come run-off dumps parts and chemicals into water sources that travel for miles poisoning everything around.

Beside the issue of leaving your most valuable and proprietary information vulnerable to hackers and data thieves, which could cost your company tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in liability down the road, what happens to old electronic equipment that go into landfills around the country and around the world is frightening and dangerous.

If your firm has even the smallest interest in keeping our planet green and being ecologically prudent, there is something you need to know about the disposal of electronics. Putting them into a dumpster or heaving them out in the trash, could be polluting our earth in ways that will impact people for generations to come.

What Are The E-Hazards?

Personal computers, smart phones, tablets, and other electronics contain parts that pose absolutely no danger in their daily use. But without proper disposal, many of these same electronics components become extremely toxic!

Used electronic devices contain hazardous materials like mercury, lead, chromium, silver, and flame-retardants. They also contain small amounts of valuable raw materials, such as gold, copper, titanium, and platinum; one ton of electronic waste might yield 200 grams of gold. That’s why in many third-world countries people are willing to sacrifice their health, for making money on electronics that end up in large garbage and waste dumping grounds.

According to a United Nations Environment Program report titled “Waste Crimes”, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste—mainly computers and smartphones—were expected to be dumped in 2017. That’s up 20 percent from 2015, when about 41 million tons of electronic waste was discarded, much of it into third world countries serving as global landfills. Surely this number is going to grow every year.

What You Can Do

We have become a “throw-away” society. When electronic items break or are no longer updated with the latest technological advances, what do we do? Toss them! Be gone and on to the next “shiny object”. However, we know that much of this electronic waste can be easily reduced through reuse, repair, or resale.

Redeploying an idle asset to another part of an organization is often the most productive use of the asset. Asset redeployment also saves the organization money by eliminating the need to purchase a new asset at current market rates.

Disposition of surplus or idle assets is the process of selling, scrapping, recycling, donating, or otherwise disposing of an IT asset. With this process, the asset is removed from your organization’s books. When done effectively, your organization will have additional capital that you can reinvest in your business. A good asset sale can produce revenue and increase profits.

In Conclusion

At CLR we have programs to help companies dispose of their electronics, which include items like laptops, smartphones, tablets, TVs, printers, and other electronic equipment that is no longer usable. We are NAID certified and EPA licensed members, which means we are a responsible vendor for IT Asset Disposition.

Don’t add to the high-tech trash that’s already impacting our earth, and don’t risk having your most proprietary information be at risk if found by cyber-thieves selling it on dark web.

Get our FREE Tip Sheet, “Five Ways to Prepare Your IT Assets to Enable Investment Recovery”.

About The Author

Chris Regan

Chris Regan

Founder of CLR Solutions LLC, a specialized electronics recycling/refurbishing and data security services firm which offers clients secure data destruction, equipment investment recovery solutions, electronic disposal, and recycling services. Over 15 years industry experience in various leadership and management roles. A drive and determination necessary to make any project successful.