Equipment End of Life: Recycling and Proper E-Waste Disposal

Lora Bentley

Given the new administration's push for energy efficiency and other "green" initiatives, it's not suprising that many companies are refocusing their equipment recycling efforts. But as of now, there is no all-encompassing federal mandate in the U.S. that addresses e-waste. It's up to each state how end-of-life electronics are handled.


Large tech companies have buy-back or collection processes in place so their customers aren't left holding useless equipment. IBM, for instance, directs customers to various state Web sites for guidance regarding proper disposal of their IBM-labeled e-waste.

Washington State points Web site visitors to appropriate e-waste collection sites according to their counties of residence. It may be Office Depot, Goodwill or some other retailer. California provides a wealth of information for consumers and certified waste recyclers alike. And if your state has not yet mandated an e-waste recycling program, the IBM page tells you that, and suggests contacting city or county government for their guidance on proper disposal.


Processor.com addresses the equipment recycling issue for SMBs with these helpful tips:

  • Consider outsourcing. Writer Elizabeth Millard says simply, "It's usually preferable to stick to the experts on this one." They know how to properly wipe data from the machines and it's their job to keep up with state and local requirements regarding how to properly dispose of all the machine components.
  • Reaserch the outsourcer. Redemtech president Bob Houghton tells Processor, "The customer needs to know what they want in a recycling program before they start talking to vendors." Find out where the machines are stored and shipped, how much liability coverage they have, and whether you'll get a portion of any resale profit.
  • Don't forget maintenance contracts and power consumption. Once a machine is "taken off the network," Millard says, check to make sure that machine is physically unplugged from the wall. And be sure that it is no longer covered in your company's maintenance contracts. Why pay for maintenance on a machine you no longer have?
  • Know what the equipment is worth. Sometimes it can be refurbished and resold or donated to a non-profit group.


Even more interesting than how the equipment is collected for disposal or recycling, though, is just exactly what those recyclers do with the components once they get them. And how do they manage to keep up with the different requirements of each state? These are things I'm looking into. Join the discussion.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 10, 2009 7:36 PM Pilla Nageshwara Rao Pilla Nageshwara Rao  says:

Recycling waste is not a good practice as the ingradients in the wastes may be injurious and sometimes hormful. Hence finding a way out for the waste is the best solution for regulating the Environment. This has been practised in Jindal Organisation Vasind and I am a party to it

Jul 30, 2009 12:25 PM ricom ricom  says:

Computer Buyback and Recycling Programs aid in reducing the amount of electronics in landfills by refurbishing for reuse or by safely recycling it.  Offering recycling, trade in, and buyback programs offer customers a simple way to receive cash for their unwanted technology equipment or, if there is no value, recycle it. 

Making solutions that make it easy for customers to go green.  Computer Buyback and Recycling programs reduce environmental impact by providing a convenient way for customers to responsibly recycle data center equipment.  Environmentally, RICOM is committed to offering products and services that are environmentally practical throughout their life cycles. 


Remanufacture and reuse is only one component of the environmental lifecycle. A complete approach to the environment considers all aspects of a product's lifecycle and footprint of a product.  Systems that can be upgraded using refurbished components extend the end date of their use.  RICOM offers refurbished components in new products and packaging as an alternative of cost savings. 

Hardware asset recovery has value with used equipment Trade-in/trade-up, donation and off lease programs.  With 20 years experience in IT sales, refurbishing and recycling operations, green is good business.  Our vast portfolio of blade, virtualized configurations as well as energy star certified products cuts power costs, and consolidates data center real estate.  Recycling computers rather than depositing them in landfills or shipping them off for other nations has risk of sensitive data.  RICOM's partnered with company's assisting in such disk data sanitation services.

RICOM extends environmental technology solutions saving customers money.  Electronic products make up the fastest growing segment of our landfill waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2007, more than 63 million computers in the United States were traded in for replacements, or simply thrown out.   Discarded computers don't just take up space in a landfill. Careless computer disposal spread toxic wastes of more than 100 chemicals leaching in the soil. Be responsible, reuse certified refurbished equipment, and recycle your aging data center equipment that is cost effective both business and environmentally.

Green Asset Recovery Solutions, contact RICOM shopricom.com

Nov 5, 2009 7:03 PM Joeblog20 Joeblog20  says:

Stumbled upon an interesting site, www.global-serve.com, offers complete Global IT Procurement.

Jan 25, 2010 4:46 PM Houston computer recycling Houston computer recycling  says:

E-Waste Proposed Regulation:

1. It will increase access to responsible recycling for individuals,

2. It bans households from disposing the same toxic electronics that

    businesses have been restricted from land filling for decades,

3. It protects the state from unscrupulous recyclers, and,

Sep 29, 2010 6:51 PM dallas electronics recycling dallas electronics recycling  says:

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

Dec 24, 2010 2:39 PM IT Recycling IT Recycling  says:

Only a sustained and sincere efforts at recycling with emphasis on the environmental conservation procured thereby can yield results.

Sep 19, 2011 5:53 PM Haul it Louisville Guy Haul it Louisville Guy  says:

I am very interested to know what the recycling companies are doing with the components once they have them. I have asked employees at the e-waste recycling center where I live and no one seems to know. Have you done any follow up on this article?


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