March 2005

Grow your business with electronics recycling
by Lauren S. Roman

Any company providing corporate recycling services, whether for paper or other traditional materials, is in the right place at the right time to solve their clients’ recycling needs. There is a huge demand for electronics recycling knocking at your door! Managing obsolete electronic equipment in-house, however, is a daunting task. Hazardous components and proprietary information stored on hard drives present huge responsibilities and are not for the weak of heart. Partnering with a competent e-recycling company, however, can help grow your business while providing your customers with the service and protection they deserve.

The most important step in choosing a qualified e-recycler is to fully audit their processes. Because electronics recycling in the U.S. is largely unregulated, many well-intentioned companies hire e-recyclers that do not do as they say they do. When auditing a perspective partner, look for the following:

If you have clients that expect resale value, make sure you see triage and testing activities taking place. E-recyclers that sell tested equipment reap a much higher returns from buyers and you can pass along the benefits to your customers.

Understand issues surrounding export of e-scrap to developing countries such as China and India. Since these countries lack the ability to properly manage hazardous materials in electronics, selling them e-scrap is essentially exporting pollution. Eventually, companies contributing to these problems will be called upon for clean up. Visit www.ban.org for more information on this essential issue.

Do you see any dismantling, shredding or other processing activities taking place? If not, where is the non-saleable e-scrap going? What do those companies do with it? Is your recycler really protecting you?

Get documentation! Do not let them tell you where they send material (such as leaded CRT glass) for further processing, have them show you. Review a few months worth of outbound BOLs to be sure materials are going where they say they are going and not being exported.

Go easy on yourself! Limit your reviews to recyclers with the capabilities to do resale and processing down to the commodity level in house. This gives you a one-stop audit and minimizes concerns regarding down-stream vendors.


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