E-Waste Recycling: A Costly Predicament or Social Imperative?

Patrick Avery

Is e-waste recycling a social responsibility or not? That is one of the questions IT Business Edge's Lora Bentley addresses in her recent article on the business of e-waste recycling. While many would answer yes, companies have to worry about escalating costs across the board, and therefore cannot take on lots of additional expenditures.


Attorney Katie Sinding says:

The best thing that can happen is that we get new federal legislation that restricts exports of e-waste out of this country.

However, this is not likely to happen given IBISWorld research that indicates recycling is "the thirteenth biggest revenue loser in 2009, and is expected to plummet a drastic 20 percent."


Robert Houghton, president of Ohio-based technology change-management company Redemtech, says "proper recycling costs a company like Redemtech a few cents per pound net of materials recovery values." Costs to customers vary, according to M&K's Recovery Group's Matt Decareaux. But generally, he says:

Commercial customers can expect to pay from about $2.50 for smaller pieces such as phones and printers up to $15 for larger CRT monitors (which have a more complicated demanufacturing process), which includes local pickup, certificate of recycling and hard drive destruction serialization.

There are many ways for businesses to cut costs, and the IT Business Edge Knowledge Network has plenty of tools to address cost and energy consumption Here are some of the tools offered:


Green IT e-Billing Calculator

Green Data Center Calculator - Scheduled Server Power-Down

Green IT Paper Reduction Calculator


Also, stay tuned to the Knowledge Network in the next month to learn more about e-waste recycling and download a free calculator that will help you determine if an e-waste recycling program is cost effective

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 6, 2010 12:43 PM Bryan Bell - Berkeley Hauling & Junk Removal Bryan Bell - Berkeley Hauling & Junk Removal  says:

As the owner a small hauling company based very close to Silicon Valley, I see TONS of e-waste on a daily basis.  The worst part of it, is that so much of what gets thrown out is still in good or workable condition.  Of course, I can't always differentiate between what's worth it's weight and what's junk, but I do know that much of what's hitting the heaps at the junkyard is quality stuff. 

I do try and recycle or donate what I can, but often it can be a challenge for me as a small business to do all the recycling for everything I come across.  This being the case, l offer my clients lists of recyclers or charities for their still working equipment, but 90% of the time they just don't want to deal with it.  I don't like it, but I understand they're point of view. 

I can't offer the solution, but I do believe that if e-waste recycling was somehow rewarded or punished in a significant way, we'd see much more progress.... of course, saying so is much easier than doing.

To answer Mr. Avery's original question, I believe Yes - e-waste recycling is definitely a social responsibility.


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