What Happens when Electronics are Not Recycled Properly

Apr 21, 2021

Upgrading to new IT equipment and devices is an expensive and difficult process for many North Dakota and South Dakota businesses, but it is necessary to remain competitive and ensure efficiency and productivity in the workplace.  Unfortunately, the problems don’t begin and end with purchasing new equipment.

Businesses also have to figure out what to do with old equipment once it has been replaced.  This is the part of IT asset management where the ball often gets dropped, and equipment and devices end up languishing in a closet or storeroom somewhere, or alternately, getting dumped.  Both are terrible options that put your company and your customers at risk, and the latter can also be harmful to the environment.

Even worse, these options do not comply with consumer privacy laws.  As a responsible business, it’s imperative that you properly recycle e-waste.  What happens when you don’t?

Growing Landfills and Pollution

Landfills are the end point of a linear production system, one by which we view the items we use as disposable.  The result is trash heaps growing at an alarming rate, punctuated by unethical practices like shipping e-waste overseas, where it gets dumped in developing nations.

This is a problem for two reasons.  For starters, it’s like sweeping dirt under the rug – the problem doesn’t go away, it just gets hidden.  Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, or that it’s not getting worse.

Then there’s the pollution caused by e-waste.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), e-waste is full of harmful toxins like lead, cadmium, chromium, PCBs, and more that can impact the environment and humans through direct contact or leaching into the soil, water, and food chain.  In some cases, e-waste is burned, resulting in significant air pollution.

Data Theft

When IT assets are tossed in the trash, or handed off to unscrupulous third parties that simply ship it overseas instead of recycling it, the risks of data theft are high.  U.S. businesses are beholden to consumer privacy laws (federal, state, and local), and in some cases industry regulations, if they deal with particularly sensitive data like medical or financial information.

These laws specify how IT assets should be disposed of in order to protect the personal data consumers entrust to businesses.  The good news is, you have options for disposal that not only protect your customers and your company, but also help to protect the planet.

When you’re ready to get rid of IT assets, you can wipe them and remarket them, giving them a second life through reuse, or you can shred and recycle them, minimizing the waste that goes to landfills and ensuring that valuable components are repurposed.

Proper E-Waste Disposal

Most companies don’t have the resources to refurbish or recycle IT equipment and devices on their own, but there is a solution.  When you partner with a certified ITAD service provider that offers full transparency and vets downstream partners, your business has the best chance to behave responsibly, comply with all applicable laws, and do your part to keep both your customers and the environment safe.

Are you looking for a reputable and reliable ITAD service provider?  Contact the certified experts at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to learn more.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.