Currently, in the majority of the states,
there are no licenses or certifications that need to be obtained in order to become an "electronics recycler".
Anyone can hang out a shingle, put up a website and claim to be a company that recycles electronic equipment. Consequently,
there are a wide variety of service providers out there employing many different methods for managing electronic equipment.
So how does one select the "right" company?
First, know the right questions to ask. Is the company a reseller or a recycler or both and what is the difference?
Resellers are generally interested in your
"good" stuff. This translates to equipment they can take in and resell without too much effort. They will even
offer to take your equipment for "free" and tell you that they will handle all of it. Resellers do not get too involved
with the "recycling" part of the process. Responsible recycling costs money so a typical reseller will normally look
for a cheap (read unsafe) way to get rid of whatever they can't resell; and there is always equipment that
Responsible recyclers focus on managing the
true "end-of-life" for electronics. Similar to a reseller, a responsible recycler will often resell equipment.
They will also have your best interests at heart for managing the equipment which did not sell. Recyclers -- good recyclers
-- are going to charge you a fee for this expertise and protection.
A responsible recycler should meet minimum
criteria for handling your equipment. The following basic questions should always be asked:
- Are they examining the equipment for batteries
and other hazardous items and removing such items during the process? (All computers contain a battery, by the way!)
- Are the hazardous materials being
- Are they removing all asset tags
before reselling the equipment?
- Do they have their own monitor recycling process
or is it outsourced?
- If they have outsourced their monitor
recycling, is it with an appropriate facility?
- How are they handling your hard
drives and the data on them?
- Do they have an appropriate hard
drive wiping program that overwrites all data?
- Do they have a documented environmental
- What is being landfilled?
- What is being exported?
- Are they using prison labor?
- Does the company have adequate insurance coverage?
It is extremely important to be careful when
selecting an electronics recycler. Ask lots of questions and if at all possible, visit the facility in person before
making a decision.