Learn the basics of e waste recycling. Our new video includes tips on maximizing value recovery and getting packaging right.

What does it take to learn the basics about e waste recycling? Try 8 minutes.  In this new video, we walk you through all you need to know to get started or to improve the way you recycle your retired electronic devices.

Consider it your roadmap to maximizing value, reducing costs, and minimizing your environmental impact as you pursue what no modern and environmentally-conscious business can do without: e waste recycling. 

You’ll find out the answers to the following questions:

  • What is e waste? 
  • How do you boost the value of your retired business electronics? 
  • What can you do to reduce carbon emissions and lower freight cost?
  • How do you package items for shipping? 

Watch the video below — and keep reading for a quick recap of e waste recycling 101:

E waste recycling 101: Learning the basics

What is e waste? 

The answer is straightforward: E waste is electronic devices that are at the end of their useful life or are unwanted or discarded. It also includes the parts that are used for the manufacturing or repair of those devices.

Examples of e waste include, modems, mobile phones, wearables, hard drives, circuit boards, components, metals and wire, network and data center equipment, desktop computers, laptops, monitors and peripherals, batteries, and specialty electronics, like test and lab equipment. Please note test and lab equipment has significant value in the resale market. 

Reading tip: How to responsibly ship batteries for recycling

How do you boost the value of your retired business electronics? 

The good news: It doesn’t take much to increase the value of your retired electronics. Are you in the habit of degaussing? Unless you’re obligated by regulations to use this method, consider alternatives that sanitize your data and leave the hard drive in shape for resale. 

Let’s take a look at a few more tips: 

  1. Accumulate as much as possible. Unless you’re short on storage and have no choice but to ship just a couple of pallets, it pays to wait for larger volumes to accumulate. It significantly reduces both freight costs and carbon emissions. 
  2. Keep the unit intact. Once your laptops are ready for recycling, it’s easy to forget to treat them with care. But the fact is you can recoup so much more value if they arrive in good condition. A broken screen can mean the difference between pennies and dollars. 
  3. Avoid degaussing. We’ll say it again: Degaussing renders the drive unusable and takes it out of the running in secondary markets. If, on the other hand, you let us wipe it and verify that the data is not recoverable, it’ll be fit for resale.
  4. Don’t request destruction unless you need it. Shredding breaks down data bearing devices into the finest commodities possible. However, the commodity needs to be cleaned before it can be sent downstream as plastic may need to be separated from pieces of circuit boards or metals. If you have classified or proprietary items and want them shredded, it’s an understandable choice. But please remember you may recover more value if we don’t run them through the shredder. 
  5. Only send e waste. It’s called e waste recycling for a reason. Make sure to keep textiles, food waste, trash, chemicals, and other things you want to get rid of out of your e waste shipment. It means more sorting for us and will result in an extra charge. 

More to read, more to learn: 6 easy ways to increase IT asset recovery value 

How do you package items for shipping? 

The short of it: Stock up on stretch wrap and go to work. The voiceover you hear in this part of the video is Mike Ross, our ITAD Director, who knows everything there’s to know about packaging (and more). He reminds us that carriers require all items to be palletized prior to shipment. With that in mind, here are a few quick tips:

Different sizes and shapes call for different packaging methods

Uniform cubic items (boxes, racks, etc.): These items are the easiest to pack and the best place to start. Stack the first layer on the pallet, ensure there’s no overhang and that the height measures no more than 48 inches. Then, apply the stretch wrap, starting at the bottom and working your way up and back down. Be generous and use overlapping layers. This shipment will have to sustain a lot on its way to its final destination. The cost of any damages or injuries will always come at a higher cost than adding extra wrapping. Affix any necessary paperwork, such as the bill of lading and tracking number. 

Non-uniform cubic items (servers, appliances, etc.): Begin large and heavy on the base and continue stacking in accordance with size and weight. Again, remember to avoid overhang, stack to a safe height, and liberally wrap it all up. It’s better to be safe than held responsible. 

Asymmetrical and non-cubic items (monitors, keyboards, printers): Assemble a gaylord box and place it squarely on the pallet. Recall what we said about keeping items intact? Now is where that piece of advice comes in handy. Carefully place items in the box. Add a lid if available or use stretch wrap to seal. 

Large, bulky items: Too big to stack? Contact us. We’ll provide directions. 

Can we help you answer more questions about e waste recycling, please don’t hesitate to reach out

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