Green Initiatives: Helpful Tips for Sustainable E-Waste Management in Business

Hummingbird International

We are living in the most technologically advanced era in human history. The industrial, scientific, and technological advancements of the last several decades have enabled us to attempt and innovate at a scale and pace never even imagined before.

We traveled to the moon and are planning to go to Mars. We have developed prosthetics that can be controlled with the user’s mind. We have created technologies like generative AI that enable us to talk to a computer program and get intelligent answers completely thought anew by the code.

Yet all this progress has come at a terrible cost.

The Electronic Waste Crisis

Our planet is choking with all the pollution caused by tools and technologies that have facilitated this progress. When an organization builds a new data center or a commercial delegation takes an international flight to secure a deal to further this progress, we contribute to the planet’s devastation.

Rising levels of e-waste have put the future of our generations on the line. And so has the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. But the reason e-waste should be given center stage in this discussion is because it’s the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

From 2014 to 2019, global e-waste grew at a rate of 21%. From 2019 to 2030, it’s projected to increase at the rate of 30%. These rates of rapid progression are not only unprecedented but also spell poison to the planet.

Due to containing some of the most harmful chemicals in the world — lead, cadmium, dioxins, arsenic, mercury, furans, and more — electronic waste is considered the most toxic to the environment and human health.

It renders soil incapable of cultivation, turns water unfit for human or earth consumption, and triggers some of the worst forms of human exploitation — including, child labor, forced labor, health hazards, income disparity, and more.

What Role Can Your Business Play to Fix This?

Businesses that care about their carbon footprint and want to explore more compassionate ways to live on Earth must take sustainable e-waste management seriously.

From buying energy-efficient equipment to timely laptops and electronic recycling, a circular e-waste management model will ensure your business isn’t adding to the e-waste crisis.

Below, we discuss 5 practical ways to manage your company’s e-waste with a planet-positive approach.

1. Speak up about e-waste and raise awareness within your teams

Education is key when you want your organization to become eco-conscious. Conduct training sessions with your teams to help your employees learn about the impact of the business on the earth’s resources. Invite experts to share insights on what unique steps your business can take to curb its carbon footprint and work towards a healing planet.

Set clear goals and guidelines for employees and teams to work towards greener practices. Display posters and instructions guiding people about sustainable e-waste practices — from using less paper to ensuring lights are off in office areas that are not in use.

From smaller steps to large-scale changes, spreading awareness and education will be the first and most impactful thing to do to become a sustainable business.

2. Minimize e-waste generation with efficient inventory management

Apply circular economy strategies within your organization by tackling the e-waste monster from all sides — reducing the e-waste, reusing devices through repair, and recycling sustainably.

Efficient inventory management helps you do that successfully. By tracking all your electronics in the company, you can learn about their maximum optimal use, product lifespans, expiry dates, and energy-efficiency levels.

Equipped with this, you can put the under-used devices to better use or choose to sell or donate them in secondary markets, thus reducing your e-waste. By repairing devices that aren’t working their best, you extend their lifecycle, and by getting rid of obsolete electronics responsibly, you achieve a circular model of economy in your organization.

3. Invest in EEE products with a longer lifespan

When it’s time to bid farewell to old electronics in your company, go for computers, laptops, printers, etc., that offer a longer lifespan.

According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), extending the lifespan of products such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets by just one year could reduce their carbon footprint by 18% to 24%.

Accenture has also found that 83% of consumers in the United States and United Kingdom prefer to buy products that last longer, even if they cost more upfront.

Such devices are typically built with stronger durability and can handle prolonged use. They are also designed with repairability features in mind, further extending their use to owners.

By investing in tech products that can last for long, you automatically reduce your need to upgrade your IT infrastructure frequently, thus resulting in fewer old devices being discarded and sent to landfills. Not to mention that their durability and strength add to their resale value, so even if a laptop has outlived its use for a commercial organization, it’s still a great working asset for a student or family in need.

4. Buy energy-efficient EEEs for your workplace

It’s one thing to buy electronic products that last long, but if you aren’t focused on energy efficiency, the longer lifespan of the product alone won’t do much good. Especially considering the average scale of an SMB.

To make the most of your sustainability efforts, shift them towards proactive and preventive measures that preserve the resources — for example, energy efficiency.

As an energy-efficient business, you can reduce your energy costs, limit the effects of the volatile energy market on your business, improve employee productivity, and boost your brand repute.

5. Prioritize safe data erasure and cybersecurity

Potential cyber security risks are an inherent concern with improper e-waste handling. Identity theft, corporate espionage, and financial fraud are some of the most common crimes you could be exposing your business to by not recycling your e-waste properly.

Sustainable e-waste management prioritizes data safety and cyber security. It ensures that all of that data is made unreadable through strategies like data erasure, degaussing (physically destroying the data on disks and drives), and eventual shredding of hard drives.

When it’s time to transition to new IT systems, partner with commercial e-waste recycling companies that guarantee compliance with the latest regulations about data erasure and cybersecurity.

Build a Brand That Inspires

Businesses that value ESG inspire those around them. Not only do you build a high-value employer brand by being environmentally conscious but also show others that caring for the planet is easily doable and has commercial benefits too.

Make sustainable e-waste management a focus for your company policy and start healing the planet while also fattening up your bottom line.

Hummingbird International
Hummingbird International, LLC is your trusted partner in ethical e-waste recycling. With our headquarters in Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients across the region, including New Jersey, New York, and Washington.   At Hummingbird International, we're committed to providing comprehensive e-waste recycling solutions that prioritize environmental sustainability and ethical disposal practices. Our expert team specializes in recycling various electronic devices, including laptops, computers, LCDs/monitors, and hard drives. Whether you're a residential customer or a commercial entity, we offer free pickup services from your home or office for added convenience.   What sets us apart is our dedication to responsible recycling. We meticulously dismantle computers to ensure that usable parts are salvaged and repurposed, preventing them from ending up in landfills and minimizing environmental impact. Our services extend beyond mere disposal – we also offer IT asset disposal services to ensure the secure handling of sensitive data.   At Hummingbird International, we believe in positively impacting the planet while providing top-notch recycling solutions for our clients. Join us in our mission to create a greener, more sustainable future, one electronic device at a time.  

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