Dealing with the disposal of electronic equipment
is a confusing issue for many organizations. What are your options and legal obligations? What are the consequences?
Electronic equipment contains materials known
to be hazardous and a threat to the environment if not managed properly. The proper management of such material is regulated
under RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and subsequent Amendments. Regulated material includes many of the
heavy metals found in CRTs, circuit boards, and batteries.
Businesses and others are obligated to recognize
such regulated material and to properly manage them. While enforcement action may vary from one jurisdiction to another,
it is becoming increasingly evident that an organization will be held liable under RCRA provisions and other statutes, such
as the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the improper management of electronic equipment.
Discarded electronic equipment contains a
variety of toxic materials/pollutants including one or more of the following: lead, mercury, selenium, cadmium, arsenic,
zinc, brominated flame retardants, and, in older equipment, polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs). Cathode ray tubes
(CRT's) found in computer monitors contain about 4 pounds of lead.
Perhaps most importantly, your electronic
equipment probably contains private or sensitive data that you need to protect! Hard drives need to be properly managed,
along with other data storage mechanisms you may not even recognize. Resale, donation and employee giveaway programs
do not necessarily protect businesses from losing control of proprietary information. Freedom will ensure that your
equipment is properly handled and recycled and that your data is completely destroyed.