Employee & Community eWaste Events
Many businesses and communities are realizing the benefits of hosting an Electronics Recycling Collection Event for their employees or their communities. By providing an easy way for people to safely dispose of e-waste, you can promote your environmental initiative, keep universal waste out of the landfill, and boost morale. Hosting an electronics collection event requires significant planning to ensure you’ve taken everything you need into consideration.
Determine your Objectives: Before you begin planning, determine what your objectives will be from the event. Are you doing it to support your sustainability goals? Are you doing it to boost employee morale? The outcome you are trying to reach will help determine the type of event you hold. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your anticipated goals from the event?
- Will your event be open to employees only or to the community and other area businesses?
- Will the event be a one-time occurrence, multiple events per year, or will you be setting up a year-round program?
Find a Reliable Service Provider: It’s important to make sure all of the equipment you collect will be recycled responsibly. Find a reputable electronics recycling provider who can guarantee data is safe and equipment is recycled properly, not shipped overseas or dumped in a landfill. Look for service providers who hold e-Stewards and R2 certifications to make sure they are environmentally and socially responsible and have strict data security standards. When vetting potential providers, ask these questions:
- What types of material will the service provider accept from your event?
- What items are not accepted by the provider?
- What are their environmental and data security standards? Do they have certifications?
- What services can they provide (labor, supplies and equipment, transportation, recycling)?
Choose a Date and Location:> Choosing the right time and location for your event can affect how successful it is. Look at significant holidays, times of the year or even days of the week that people are more likely to participate. Keep space and convenience in mind for the location. Make sure people are familiar with the area and that it’s easily accessible. Try to give yourself at least two months to prepare:
- Are there any holidays or seasonal events coming up you should or should not schedule it around like Spring or Fall cleanup, Earth Day, America Recycles Day, etc?
- What day of the week will residents or employees be able to take some time out of their day? Weekends often work best for community program, but for a business collection event, would a weekend day make employee turnout less likely?
- How long will your event go? If you’re scheduling it around a work day, make sure the hours are set to give people a good time window to stop by.
- Does the space have enough room to safely accommodate people, traffic, recycling equipment and receptacles?
- Does the location have more than one entry point so that traffic can be directed to enter and exit the collection site at separate areas without creating backups or delays?
- Do you need approval from the property owner to host the event at the site? If so, identify who the person is that “makes the call” and establish good communication with them so they know what to expect.
- Are there any insurance requirements or permits (event, signage) you may need to address?
- Are you expecting enough participants that you’ll need to notify your local police department to help direct traffic on the roads surrounding the event?
Determine your Budget: Three basic cost centers go into hosting a collection event. These include advertising costs, operational costs and transportation costs. Utilizing volunteers and sponsors for resources such as labor, equipment and advertising will greatly reduce your event costs. Consider the following questions when determining your budget:
- Are there any sponsors interested in donating to your event (marketing, equipment, location)?
- Would you consider hosting a joint event with another organization to share the costs?
- How do you plan on publicizing the event?
- Are there rental fees for equipment, supplies and possibly the site location?
- What are the transportation costs? Is it billed by the mile or by the hour? Does this include driver labor and packaging?
- What is the processing fee for recycling the equipment? Will you receive any resale credit back if equipment can be resold?
- Will you charge a fee for items to offset costs?
- Are there event tasks you can carry out yourself instead of using a contractor? If so, is the labor worth the cost break?
Gather Staff, Supplies and Equipment: Now that you have an idea of your budgetary allowance, line up all of your staff, supplies and equipment needs. Here’s a few tips and examples of what you’ll need:
- Volunteers or Staff: Determine what roles will be needed based on your event (Traffic guides, Greeters/Helpers, Collectors/Sorters, Data Collectors/Counters, Drivers). Make sure they dress appropriately for the weather and workload (heavy duty gloves and shoes) and don’t forget to provide food and drink if they will be there for long hours. Check into state legislation to ensure all labor practices and safety concerns are taken care of (Some electronics contain hazardous and flammable material that may require safety training).
- Traffic Direction Supplies: Traffic cones, flags, directional signage and safety vests.
- Collection Receptacles: Bins, boxes and pallets. Service providers usually provide these supplies so check with them first. Designate a separate bin for trash or items that are not accepted by the service provider, you’ll have to find appropriate outlets for this or turn items away (Be clear on what you’ll accept).
- Loading Equipment: Pallet jacks or forklifts if needed.
- Transportation Vehicles: Whether you plan on using your service provider for transportation or if you will deliver the equipment on your own, you’ll need to determine the vehicle size to hold all of the equipment and how many vehicles you’ll need (Standard pallet size is 48”x40”). If everything doesn’t fit, you’ll need to make more than one trip, which may affect your budget.
- Hosting Table: Consider setting up a table where people can get information and ask questions.
- Inventory Sheet: If reporting is not provided by the service provider or if you want to have your own records to compare, collect data on the type and number of electronics collected to report back to your employees on the success of the event and for you to use for sustainability reports and marketing. Save this data to compare your results to events you do in the future.
- Camera: Document the event with pictures or videos to show what you accomplished!
Spread the Word! Marketing your event takes a lot of effort, time and thought. Your objective is to generate excitement to get better turnout and make your event more fun!
- Use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to promote the event for free. Write posts for the event every week with engaging questions like “What’s the one thing you’re excited to finally get rid of?” or “Didyou Know?” facts about eWaste. This allows people to get engaged in conversation.
- If open to the public, use traditional media like local paper and radio ads if your budget allows or post on community websites and blogs.
- Hang posters and leave flyers around your building where employees typically gather (Restrooms, lobbies, break rooms, etc).
- Put an announcement in your company newsletter, on your internal website or send out an email blast.
- On any marketing or promotional message you put out, make sure you’re clear on what participants need to do to avoid creating confusion or discouraging people from coming. Include Location, Date(s) and Time(s), Accepted and Not Accepted Items, Any User Fees, Contact Information for Questions, Reminder to delete any personal data (If your service provider has proper data security standards this will be done at their facility, but to prevent any issues before it gets to them, this is a best practice to follow), Information on what happens to the equipment (Where it will go, what percent is recycled, what percent is reused, environmental and data security information).
Share Your Success: Always measure the success of your event to share the results with participants, your company and the public. This data will also help you when planning your next event. Here are some tips for your post-event activities:
- Determine what results you’ll use to measure your success (Number of participants, quantity of material, weight of equipment).
- Work with the service provider to establish the time frame when you’ll have information reported back to you on specific counts, weights and other numbers.
- If any partners were involved, send letters thanking them and sharing the results.
- Create a public announcement outlining the results to show how much you reused or recycled. This will promote your brand and may also increase participation for future events.
Proper preparation and planning can reduce costs, increase turnout and mitigate environmental and data security risks for your collection event. SEAM offers custom options for your collection program needs and event scheduling.Contact SEAM to learn how we can support your company electronics recycling collection event or residential drop off site.
A few examples of current Electronics Recycling Events and Programs serviced by SEAM:
- Sioux Falls Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility Year-Round Electronic Recycling Drop Off (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
- City of Sioux City and the Environmental Advisory Board will hold their semi-annual Re-Event (Sioux City, Iowa)
- Lake County Free Electronic Recycling Drop Off Events (Madison, South Dakota)