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A Small Business Owner’s Guide on How to Manage Electronic Waste

10 min read
A Small Business Owner's Guide on How to Manage Electronic Waste

Stop! Don’t throw that out!

Oh, sorry about that. It’s just that all those old printers, computer monitors, and other electronic waste from your office can’t just be thrown away.

A lot of this e-waste is toxic for our environment and most of it won’t deteriorate for 1,000 years. And we’re already drowning in more e-waste than we can handle as it is.

According to the UN, the world collectively generates more than 44 million metric tonnes of e-waste every year. That number is expected to grow to 52.2 million by 2021.

For this reason, we’ve decided to help small business owners like you learn how to manage e-waste. Since businesses are the biggest producers of e-waste, this should drastically reduce all unmanaged e-waste over the next few years.

To learn how you can do your part, keep reading.

1. Plan It When You Buy It

Upgrades are a natural and inevitable part of running a business. The state-of-the-art PCs you’re filling your office with today will be outdated and replaced before you know it.

Since you know this is inevitable, make a plan for it now, before upgrade day sneaks up on you. Take inventory of your electronic equipment today and research how you can responsibly dispose of them when that day comes. Then, from this point on, do this research for any new equipment the same day you buy it.

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Take note: when it comes to electronics recycling, certain trouble items, like CRTs, are particularly difficult to dispose of. Finding a recycling center who will accept these could take a while.

So don’t procrastinate. Plan your e-waste disposal strategy well in advance.

2. Buy the Good Stuff

You can reduce your e-waste by reducing breakdowns. Cheap equipment breaks more, leading to more e-waste. Higher-quality electronic items will last longer, reducing waste.

When buying new equipment, do your research, and spring for the good stuff. Also, see if you can get equipment that comes with extended warranties or service plans.

3. Fix It

Speaking of service plans, don’t be so quick to replace malfunctioning equipment. Perhaps your “broken” equipment has a very easy fix. See if you can have it repaired.

Likewise, before discarding your hardware, try upgrading the software. This may be enough to solve your problems.

Even better, keep your equipment in tip-top shape with proper maintenance. Have a strategy in place (and probably a maintenance technician) to keep your equipment properly maintained.

4. Donate It

While recycling e-waste is good, it’s easier for everyone if you sell or donate it instead. There’s a high demand for your used electronics. Why deny the supply?

Check if any repair shops or electronic stores in your area are willing to buy your unneeded electronics from you. There are also online companies who will do this through the mail.

Check if local schools or charities need your e-waste and donate it.

5. Recycle

Finally, your last option is to recycle. Following our first tip, you should already have a list made up of recyclers who will accept your e-waste items.

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How to Manage E-Waste

Now that you have proper knowledge of how to manage e-waste, don’t just sit on it. Use it.

Furthermore, share it. Set the example and make sure all your business partners know to do the same.

Do your part to reduce e-waste by following and sharing these tips and this blog post.

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