One of the downsides of technological advances is the mountain of machines left behind that become e‑waste. Machine life spans have been decreasing for years. Just think about how many cell phones you have owned over the years. Experts estimate that yearly in the U.S. over 400 million units of e-waste is discarded and less than 12% is recycled. That is why all year long, the IT Radix team collects e-waste from clients and others and then it is picked up by Green Vision Inc., an innovative local not-for-profit program that teaches adolescent students and adults with autism how to properly dismantle and recycle unwanted electronics. This organization helps reduce landfill waste and environmental problems by wiping hard drives and stripping items for parts and materials that in many cases are reused and/or repurposed.

Helping Sustain the Environment by Minimizing E‑Waste is Important For All of Us

Unfortunately, some improperly recycled electronics are shipped to developing countries where irresponsible recyclers hire low-wage staff who are often sadly untrained and exposed to toxic materials. Most of the countries where this happens have little to no environmental protection in place. Recycling unwanted electronics in a responsible way reduces this risk. For example, after Green Vision staff disassemble, they ship some items to a service that shreds and further separates materials to identify usable metals that are then often sent to a smelter. Gold, copper, zinc, and aluminum are often recovered and reused, turning up in everything from cars to jewelry.

Many organizations have a pile of unwanted/end-of-life devices stored in a closet or back room. Recycling professionals call this the “Pile of Denial” that grows over time. We highly recommend not stacking items up in this way, but rather, it is best to recycle items as soon as you no longer need them as their potential value in the recycle e‑stream depreciates quickly.

Helping sustain the environment by minimizing e‑waste is vitally important for all of us. That is why we welcome anyone to drop by our office to drop off unwanted devices. Just give us a call as a heads up. Another recommendation is to resist buying a new device until you really need it. Consider repairing it before replacing it! But when it is time to move on, please do so responsibly.

November is RED Month at IT Radix… Reduce | Energize | Donate. For more details along with a complete list of accepted equipment, visit us here!

First published in our November 2023 IT Radix Resource newsletter