22 December 2017
‘Tis the season of giving, and along with the jolly jumpers, mince pies and the rest of the festivities comes the inevitable mound of present packaging and unwanted tech gifts that have lost their novelty factor by Boxing Day. And of course there’s the wealth of old gadgets that have been replaced by shiny new ones. What happens to all this waste?
“The only world worth passing to our children is toxic-free.” Ban Toxics.
Failing to dispose of our old electronics safely and sustainably can have lasting negative events on our health and the environment. E-waste contains toxic materials such as lead, arsenic, beryllium and mercury, and if these are allowed to make their way into our ecosystem they can cause major damage to plant, animal and human life. Lead exposure can be especially damaging to the mental and physical development of children under the age of 6.
And it’s not just our health that’s at risk. Failing to properly dispose of e-waste also leaves us vulnerable to data security breaches, as any information that hasn’t been wiped can easily be stolen.
Organisations like Greenpeace have compiled lists that evaluate a company’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint, meaning you can shop savvy when it comes to sustainable gift-giving. And you can do your bit by purchasing tech goodies that have very few toxins in them – just look for the RoHS logo (European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances), which requires electronics manufacturers to eliminate toxins in the goods they sell, such as cadmium and lead. You can also keep an eye out for the Energy Star label and WEEE compliant logos.
It might be overwhelmingly tempting to ask for a shiny new upgrade this Christmas, but if your existing tech is still working just fine, splashing out on the latest model might not be worth the added social and environmental cost. Worth a thought… Because the best way to avoid e-waste is to not create it in the first place.
Whatever the season, responsible computer recycling is vital, if you want to play your part in reducing potentially health and environmentally-harming e-waste, as well as keeping your data secure. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.