Go Green – Proper Recycling of Electronics

Recently the General Services Administration (GSA) issued a bulletin that instructs federal agencies to dispose of used electronics in an environmentally friendly manner, often referred to as “e-cycling.”  The bulletin, which represents the first set of policies to be issued as a result of the Obama administration’s National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (published in July 2011), outlines the following:

  • Federal agencies must not dispose of used electronics in landfill or incinerators
  • Agencies must send electronics that are no longer functioning to third-party recyclers
  • Agencies should donate used electronics to other agencies, schools and state and local governments, or sell them
  • Agencies  should encourage people who buy or received donated federal electronics to eventually recycle the products

Despite the fact that the federal government is the nation’s largest consumer of electronics, according to GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, only about 4% of federal agencies and divisions dispose of used computers and cellphones in landfills now, and about 60% of agencies recycle them.

Rapid changes in technology, including the constant cycle of new product introductions and upgrade options have resulted in a surplus of electronic waste, and all indications lead us to believe that this will only continue as further technological inventions enter the market.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 2.37 million tons of e-waste is generated in the United States each year.  Recycling these electronics allows them to be reused in a different form, and also prevents sometimes hazardous materials from entering the waste stream.

Well before the GSA issued their bulletin, consumers have discovered the importance and benefits of e-recycling.  The most significant benefits include:

  • Cleaner environment:  Landfills, where most waste is deposited, spread hazardous toxins throughout the land masses they occupy.   The toxins degrade the ground water that is desperately important to both the land and the people who occupy the surrounding areas.  E-cycling saves space in these landfills and prevents the spread of toxins that cause irreparable damage to our previous environment.
  • Health benefits:  Many electronics are made-up of different types of plastics, leads, and other chemicals that become harmful to our health when they are dumped, as they seep into the air, and eventually, our lungs.  E-cycling eliminates these health threats.

In order to make this process more efficient, many manufacturers have implemented services and programs to help their customers more easily, and safely, recycle their used electronic devices.  For Panasonic, an eco-friendly company striving to protect the environment worldwide, this type of e-cycling is engrained in their operations.   Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers generally outlast their warranties, providing their owners with significant ROI and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than with many other computers, so it only makes sense that the company would provide services to help organizations recycle, reuse, or donate their computers as they work to upgrade their systems.

As part of Panasonic’s total mobile computing solution, and in an effort to become the number one “Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry” by 2018, the company offers redeployment options for organizations that wish to remarket, reuse, or recycle their Toughbook computers.

  • Recycle: As a service to all individual consumers and organizational customers, Panasonic offers a plan for recycling of Toughbook® mobile computers that have reached the end of their lifecycle in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The process works the same for all customers and is free of charge.
  • Remarket (Trade-in): This service provides organizations with credit for their currently owned Toughbook® mobile computers that can be used toward the purchase of new Toughbook units. Once the trade-in value is determined, Panasonic applies the proper credit and issues a report on the value of units to the organization. Large and small organizations can trade in their Toughbook computers, which may be refurbished and resold, used for parts or recycled in an eco-friendly manner by Panasonic. Panasonic works with the organization to collect the units and ensure all data is wiped from the hard drive. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPEAT standards are also followed to assure minimal environmental impact.
  • Reuse: Panasonic offers this service to help organizations reallocate their out-of-warranty Toughbook® mobile computers by donating them to a non-profit group. This environmentally friendly option is provided by Panasonic for the cost of shipping and the processing fees that ensures all data is wiped from the hard drive. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPEAT standards are also followed to assure minimal environmental impact.

Toughbook computers are not the only products that Panasonic encourages its customers to recycle.  Additional recycling programs exists for batteries, toners, cell phones, televisions, and countless other Panasonic products.  You may learn about all of these services here.

Let Panasonic help you recycle your Toughbook mobile computers today!  Tell us what your organization has done in the past with your used electronics!