The Tip of the E-Waste Catastrophe Iceberg

The Tip of the E-Waste Catastrophe Iceberg

published
November 12, 2015
News

E-waste is a serious problem - now more than ever.
Technology is advancing exponentially, and thus electronic office supplies are becoming obsolete at an alarming rate. Though keeping up with new technology can be pricey for a company (even though there are ways to mitigate the cost), it often ends up being even more expensive to the environment.

E-waste is a serious problem

When outdated electronics are tossed out, it’s common for them to be disposed of improperly. Surprisingly, e-waste is more of an issue than traditional waste because electronics contain a large amount of toxic materials such as heavy metals including lead and mercury. These materials are toxic when introduced to plants, animals, or people in large amounts – and sometimes in trace amounts. These toxic materials are released at varying stages. They can be immediately released, in airborne form, if improperly shredded or put in acid baths. They can be released over time if they’re damaged and stockpiled or if landfilled and are open to the elements.

The most recent report on this issue involves Global Environmental Services, who just admitted to burying electronics in a hole behind their warehouse in Kentucky. The electronics were apparently collected to be recycled, but due to the cost of CRTs, this didn’t actually happen.

What makes this incident so particularly horrifying is that the company in question specializes in electronics recycling and is environmentally conscious – they even held an e-Stewards® certification until shortly before the incident.

If we cannot trust a company formed for environmental purposes, how can we be sure that anyone is really being responsible with their electronic waste?

Though programs like e-Stewards® are absolutely necessary and help to hold companies to standards that require better treatment of waste, they do not go far enough. Though GES did lose their e-Stewards® status before the incident, the fact that they ever had it is a testament to the fact that the regulations need to be stronger.
In addition, the EPA and federal government need to pass laws requiring proper disposal of electronic waste, rather than simply encouraging it with financial support and tax initiatives. This is the only way to effectively ensure that companies are dealing with their waste properly.

That said, the financial components that exist through state legislation need to be strengthened. Under most state legislation, manufacturer financial obligations are tied to a required percentage of weight to collect (and recycle) rather than a certain amount of money to deal with the issue. The percentage is insultingly low. As a result, many e-waste recycling companies are left without adequate resources to dispose of this waste properly. Thus, they have to make decisions on how to cost-effective dispose of old technology and equipment – which often leads to improperly handling the materials in the most secretive or harmful way. It’s expensive to do the right thing.

4th Bin understands that this is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed.

That’s why we were awarded the Environmental Champion Award this year, which is the highest recognition the EPA gives to the public. We are committed to disposing of your waste both efficiently and safely.

If you have any questions about our e-waste disposal practices, we’d love to hear from you, please contact us here
 

 

More News

News

4THBIN and Riskigy Team Up for Data Privacy Week 2023

In light of Data Privacy Week, 4THBIN and Riskigy have joined forces to educate individuals and organizations about the importance of data privacy.

News

Are you ready for 2023?

Are you ready for 2023? 4THBIN is here to help you get a head start on the new year with our secure and certified e-recycling solutions!

News

Learn More About Data Security and Environmental Risks

When dealing with obsolete electronics, it is essential to take data security and the environment into consideration. If end-of-life IT devices are not securely and sustainably dealt with, they pose significant financial, legal, and reputational risks.

News

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! As we get ready to celebrate the year’s most frightening festivities, we are reminded that the scariest part of Halloween isn’t the ghosts or ghouls, but the garbage that is left behind to haunt the environment.

News

Fall E-Recycling

Technology is evolving every season, and the use and demand for electronics have grown to unprecedented levels. As new, updated gadgets are introduced, older devices are rendered obsolete, contributing to the global issue of e-waste. As we enter the final quarter of 2022, 4THBIN is here to provide you with secure and sustainable solutions for any electronics that reached their end-of-life during the year.

Event

4THBIN and BGA Team Up for a Fall 2022 E-Waste Recycling Event
November 16, 2022
Drop-off Event

4THBIN and Broadway Green Alliance Team Up for a Fall 2022 E-Waste Drive

We are excited to announce our latest collaboration with environmental innovators, Broadway Green Alliance (BGA), for a Fall 2022 E-Waste Drive. We aim to provide members of the Broadway community and beyond with the opportunity to securely and sustainably recycle their old electronics. 

4THBIN-PS 29 Rummage Sale Fall 2022-Neighborhood Recycling Event
October 23, 2022
Drop-off Event

PS 29 Rummage Sale Fall 2022 - Neighborhood Recycling Event

We are excited to announce our collaboration with PS 29 again this fall for an Electronic Recycling Event. We aim to provide members of the PS 29 community and beyond with the opportunity to securely and sustainably recycle their old electronics. 

4THBIN-BGA-Event E-Waste Recycling Spring
June 1, 2022
Drop-off Event

4THBIN and Broadway Green Alliance Team Up for a Spring E-Waste Drive

We are excited to announce our collaboration with environmental innovators, Broadway Green Alliance (BGA), for a Spring E-Waste Drive.