With new e-waste recycling laws popping up around the country, we wanted to give you a set of questions to ask your current recycling company, or a company you are considering working with. Although this specific list was compiled with e-waste in mind, some of the questions can also be used when recycling other materials.
Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what you should expect to hear in response to these questions too. If the recycling company tells you something different, or doesn’t give you a straight answer, we suggest you take a pass on working with them.
1. Is my information safe?
Sensitive information is the number one reason companies hesitate when setting up an e-waste recycling program. We can’t really blame them, either. Identities are stolen all the time, so it makes sense to take caution. The recycling company you send your e-waste to should have a system in place for removing all valuable information and destroying hard drives that store it. At EverLights, our process includes wiping the equipment of all valuable information, shredding the hard drive and tracking each piece of equipment that comes through. Which leads us to the next question your recycler should be able to answer.
2. How can I be sure my information was destroyed?
It’s easy for a company to say it handles your e-waste a certain way. But it’s all talk unless the company can provide you with documentation that shows what happened to your equipment and where it ended up. Before you go calling your current recycling company to ask why you haven’t received any detailed information about your e-waste, keep in mind that it is an extra step in the process, and requires an extra time commitment from the recycling company. Most recyclers that do offer this service only do it when requested by the customer. If you want to make sure your information is safe, ask your recycling company to provide you with the proper documents. If the recycler cannot do that, it might be time consider a company that values your safety.
3. Where is my e-waste sent?
All the e-waste laws, both new and old, are great. We can’t wait until all 50 states are on board. The issue that remains, however, is that there are very few regulations controlling where the e-waste we produce ends up. Because of that, some companies will find loopholes in the system and send e-waste to places like China and Africa. Breaking down the equipment is less expensive in these places, and is also dangerous for those who do the work. There are little to no safety regulations in place, which allows companies to put employees in an unsafe environment. Using a company that does this could damage your company’s image, as well as its bank account. We advise you to stick with a recycling company that keeps e-waste in the U.S., even if it costs you a few extra dollars.
4. How can I prove I recycled?
The wrong answer to this should be the biggest red flag of all. As a business, you are required to recycle certain materials and can receive hefty fines for failing to do so. Any responsible recycling company should provide you with a certificate of recycling for each project. It will be hard to find a recycler that doesn’t do this, but if you do, we suggest getting away as soon as possible.
5. How much will it cost?
The final question, which is often the deciding factor for businesses, is the price. We can’t sit here and tell you what it will cost to recycle your e-waste because every company is different. What we can do is suggest that you stay away from companies who will pay you for the equipment. We understand the temptation of working with a company that will pay you. The problem is that your e-waste usually won’t end up being recycled. If these companies can’t resell your electronics, the equipment usually ends up overseas to be broken down for almost no cost, or in landfills. If that happens, the waste can be tracked back to your company, causing big problems. In our opinion, it’s worth paying the small amount it will cost you to recycle to save yourself from thousands of dollars in fines.
Now that you have these questions as a reference, shop around a little. Find a recycling company that can guarantee your safety while keeping your costs at a minimum. Each of these aspects are important in their own way. If one of them can’t be answered by the recycling company, move on to the next place.
EverLights can guarantee that your information will stay safe, offers tracking services for delicate information, we never send e-waste overseas and we provide recycling certificates for every project we work on. If you have any questions about our e-waste recycling services, or any other services, give us a call. We’re always happy to help!