How To Dispose of E-Waste

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a growing concern around the world but most people don't know how to dispose of e-waste. When a device reaches the end of its service life it’s important to follow proper disposal guidelines. Old computers take up space, but they also pose a security risk. Sensitive data is exposed when not properly wiped from devices. Companies and consumers must take steps to dispose of electronics properly and responsibly. The disposing party is responsible for finding a reputable e-waste disposal solution according to the EPA. But finding the right recycling solution is easier said than done.

examples of e-waste

Find a certified partner

There are specific certification requirements for E-Waste and many facilities either do not carry these or do not keep them up to date. Marcos Garza, CEO of R3 Recycling spoke on the importance of e-waste disposal certifications.

“When looking for a reputable recycling partner, I would start with ensuring that the company is a CERTIFIED facility,” Garza said. “These certifications will ensure that the facility is following local, state, and federal laws when handling your e-Waste.”

Garza also warns to check the dates on the certification, noting that some companies hold on to out-of-date certs. You have the right to ask to see certifications. The regulations referenced are in place to help protect the environment and the disposing party alike.

“Materials that makeup computer electronics from the plastics down to the circuit boards need to be properly handled and disposed of for us to not contaminate our landfills,” Garza said.

Another reason finding a certified company that knows how to dispose of e-waste is so important is data security. “Working with a certified facility will also ensure that your data is protected and does not end up in the wrong hands,” Garza said. R3 recycling destroys hard drives to ensure data is protected. The certifying agencies audit this process to ensure it's done correctly. This is for both environmental and consumer protection.

Prepare for Disposal

After finding a trusted and certified partner there are a few more steps to take before sending devices off for disposal. Once you identify the devices and select your certified partner, schedule a pickup, or drop-off time for your devices. The recycling company takes the devices, destroys the hard drives (to protect data), and begins the process of sorting and recycling the materials. Back up all data well before the scheduled disposal. Once a hard drive is destroyed, there is no retrieving that data.

If you're concerned about data privacy, wipe electronics before sending them for disposal. Factory reset smartphones in their settings menu. Wiping computer hard drives is a bit more work but there is software specifically for this. Peripherals should be factory reset as well as they store some data.

How to Dispose of E-Waste FAQs

  • Does it cost money? Yes, or at least it should.
  • Why does it cost money? Because proper recycling and disposal include managing chemicals, batteries, metals, and plastics. It’s labor intensive when done correctly and within government regulations.
  • How often does this need to be done? That’s up to you. Devices take up space but if you have the space then it’s a matter of how often works for your business. Please note that devices storing data sitting around pose a security risk. For a business, we recommend sending devices for recycling about 30 days after decommissioning them.
  • What can be recycled? Many items are recyclable including PCs, laptops, hard drives, smartphones, routers, and many more items.

R3 Recycling is a certified e-waste disposal partner located in San Marcos, Texas. If you have questions about recycling, give R3 Recycling a call at (512)213-1345.

Contact R3 Recycling

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Unsure what we recycle? Check out Items we recycle.

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Drop-off Facility:
215 W. San Antonio St. Ste-500
San Marcos, Texas 78666