E-Waste Best Practices

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Best Practices for Reuse and Recycling

This is the order in which to consider the fate of donated computer equipment:

  1. Reuse - The primary fate of equipment should be reuse and distribution into the community.
  2. Resale - Working equipment that is headed to recycling due to it's age or over stock should be sold if possible.
  3. Recycle - Obsolete, broken and excess equipment needs to be properly recycled to recover the valuable resources. Recycling operations should aim to get materials to market in the following order from "Best" practice to the least desireable outcome:

Where do the recycled gizmos end up? There's an order for this too:

  1. Local Markets - Maximum recovery value and positive impact on the environment stems from local recovery. Search for scrap processors in your area to handle materials locally.
  2. Domestic - If no local option exists, look for processors in your region or other locations that cut down on the amount of transportation to get any particular product to market.
  3. Export - Some materials that have a very low value in the domestic market (i.e. mixed plastics) are often considered not worth the effort to recycle and are sometimes sent to the local landfill. We feel that this is not the best practice. We have found that there is an overseas market in Asia that will recycle low-grade mixed plastics and feel that the export of plastics for recycling is a superior option to domestic landfills. Great care must be taken to ensure that exports are not at risk of creating environmental harm, do this with caution.
  4. Landfill - If no other recourse is left - the local waste management system will have a landfill that will accept some material.