Supply chain shortages, COVID staff disruptions, and record inflation are making it more difficult to manage business continuity. However, one area that’s not always on the C-suite’s radar could help improve your 2022 bottom line by avoiding costly penalties for legal and environmental exposures associated with discarding your company’s aging electronic assets.
Having a state-of-art IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) plan for managing and disposing offline IT assets and “e-waste” (or “e-scrap”) is essential for protecting against or mitigating data breaches and financial losses, and significantly adding to your ROI.
Improper Disposal of E-waste is Expensive
Federal regulations and state laws create potential landmines for companies disposing of electronic waste. Every company has e-waste that must be managed and disposed. Those companies that don’t follow the rules, whether through ignorance or mistakes, or actual criminal intent, face fierce penalties.
Unfortunately, e-waste disposal is not simple because of the toxins included in the various components. Recycling electronics is not like managing plastic, cardboard, and paper. Proper and safe recycling often costs more money than the materials are actually worth.
Don’t be fooled by vendors offering “free recycling” or so-called “green electronics.” The functionality provided by all electronics is based on the unique characteristics of several toxic materials. For example, monitors and older televisions made with tubes (not flat panels) have between 4 and 8 pounds of lead in them. Most flat panel monitors and TVs being recycled today contain less lead, but more mercury. About 40% of the heavy metals, including lead, mercury and cadmium, are dumped in landfills from companies discarding electronic equipment (see more). Some so-called “recyclers” not only dump e-waste into landfills but transfer it to our prisons and overseas for dismantling, where the methods and safety of those doing the work are not closely monitored.
If a company has no plan or doesn’t care about tossing out e-scrap, it’s only a matter of time before management and owners will face consequences.
Consider the case of Walmart, which had been tossing all kinds of e-scrap into dumpsters for years. In 2013, they got caught by the State of California and vowed to make significant changes to address the problem and would be compliant with all regulations. The company plead guilty to criminal charges of mishandling hazardous waste and pesticides at its retail stores and was hit with $110 million in U.S. federal and state fines. In 2021, random audits found they did little or nothing to remedy the previous practices and continued tossing regulated e-waste in the trash. Now they’re being sued again! See the story: Walmart sued over disposal of e-scrap and other materials – E-Scrap News (resource-recycling.com)
Ignorance is Not Bliss
Purposeful intent is not the only reason subject to fines. Ignorance and mistakes also expose you to penalties. Common mistakes include using the wrong containers, not organizing different e-waste, throwing away e-waste on your own without appropriate documentation, and throwing away protected data when storage devices are improperly wiped, or not wiped at all. For any business in any industry, improper e-waste practice is a threat to their brand. Here are a few recent listings of fines which have affected well-known companies.
- Morgan Stanley fined $60 million
- Home Depot fined $28 million
- Target fined $7.4 million
- Big Lots fined $3.5 million
- Walgreens fined $3.5 million
- Dollar General fined $1.1 million
Ways Your Business Can Benefit from E-waste Management
Besides avoiding fines, here are a few of the additional ways your company can benefit from e-waste management:
- Boost your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Minimize your environmental impact
- Improve your business reputation
- Maximize ROI on retired electronics
- Save money through efficiency & value recovery
Work with a Professional Who Can Give You “White Glove” Service
Castaway provides a safe solution, compliant in all 50 states. Castaway is NAID AAA Certified and can implement national, compliant programs for e-waste as well as data center decommissioning and company moves.
We provide complete ITAD solutions that safeguard our clients’ offline and retired IT assets to simplify the entire ITAD process. For example, we provide an onsite assessment of your used electronics/IT hardware, onsite packaging and removal of equipment, cataloguing and securing all storage media, scanning all serial numbers, and sorting and assessing value recovery. If there’s value, we test and sanitize, if no value, we sanitize and safely destroy. We certify all our work and provide certified supporting documentation.
Close the Custody Loop
We have developed CastTRAC, a closed-loop, chain-of-custody process that meets and exceeds our clients’ expectations for the destruction or refurbishment of data-bearing assets. We are focused on delivering strategic services and solutions that improve your ROI and increase productivity so you can focus on what really matters – running your business.
For further information on how to optimize your management of e-waste, contact us online or call to speak with one of our ITAD specialists at (978) 208-4730.