That lament is heard in countless homes and offices around the world. Whether it’s our personal equipment or company issued, two mental roadblocks keep us clinging to our electronic junk:
- We envision someone going through our trash with the hopes of finding that old computer so they can painstakingly mine our 12-year-old Quicken data nestled on the hard drive.
- We don’t trust the roadside recycler to dispose of our toxic footprint responsibly.
We want to “be green,” but our fears paralyze us. How do we break through our own mental constraints and free ourselves (and our basements and storage rooms)? It comes down to trust.
Waveguide is proud to have been a good steward of our Earth through our commitment to greening our design practices as well as designing our own headquarters to LEED standards and STEP principles, but as an AV and IT consulting company, we continue to amass more than our fair share of electronic waste. The tools of our trade become faster and sleeker with remarkable speed. We’re always on the cutting edge of implementing what’s new. That only increases our responsibility to act as leaders in sustainability.
Waveguide recently underwent some spring cleaning at our Decatur, Ga., headquarters. We scoured the closets and workrooms for every useless, broken or unwanted electronic item: laptops, desktop computers, remote controls, cords and telephones (no one at Waveguide has a desktop phone anymore; we communicate with voice and video solely on our computers and cell phones). We also encouraged our team to bring anything from home to add to the pile.
But how would we dispose of our waste responsibly, both for the environment as well as our corporate peace of mind? To answer that question, we turned to the experts at the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal agency committed to protecting human health and the environment, including helping businesses and consumers confidently navigate waste disposal according to federal standards. Using the EPA’s search tool, we located a certified electronics recycling company that not only guaranteed our junk would be disposed of securely and to environmental standards — they picked it up for free!
The company Waveguide used is certified through e-Stewards® and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), home of the R2 standard. Premier Surplus Inc. guaranteed all hard drives and other data-storing devices would be destroyed in shredders designed for this purpose. (Have you ever tried to destroy a hard drive? It’s not easy.) Several days after our purge, we received a “Certificate of Recycling and Data Destruction.”
Do you have electronics that need a new home? Use the EPA’s search tool to find electronics refurbishing and recycling facilities certified to either or both of the above voluntary, non-federal standards.
This Earth Day, we are celebrating by responsibly lightening our electronic load. What will you do to celebrate?
Happy Earth Day!