Life After the Death of Your Computer
On average, a computer usually lasts about 5 years. However, the pace of technology is developing so rapidly that few computers ever actually see their full lifetime before being tossed and replaced by the latest and greatest device. We are now throwing out more technology than ever before, because more exists than ever before, and this has unveiled a concern of responsible disposal that is on a much larger scale than we’ve ever seen.
Back in a time before computers made their way into every household and business, they were tossed into landfills just like defunct blenders and toasters. Now, however, with so many computers facing disposal every day, our environment is at risk of being poisoned by all of the toxic crud hiding inside a computer’s frame–toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic that can trickle into local water supplies.
Instead of hiding old monitors and hard drives in the bottom of our trash bins, simply taking the old machines down to a computer recycler can eliminate the possibility of contamination. Plus, it comes with the warm fuzzies of knowing that we did the right thing. Typically, responsible recyclers send the machines to be separated into all the different materials. Besides the toxins, computers usually contain valuable metals such as iron, aluminum, gold, silver and copper. If summoned to a landfill, these materials would likely never be recovered. But, if the machines are recycled properly, the valuable metals can be extracted and reused. While doing so, it’s the facilities’ responsibility to handle and dispose of the toxins properly–most facilities even have special filters to prevent toxins from escaping into the atmosphere.
Every few years we are all guilty of becoming glossy-eyed over the newest supercomputer and giving our 2-year-old antiques their walk of shame out of our homes and businesses. It’s our responsibility to resist the urge to stuff our old machines in the bottom of our garbage bins or disguise them so the local dump will unknowingly accept them. Dropping our old technology by local electronics recyclers keeps us safe and replenishes the supply of all the precious materials it takes to create the new quicker, slimmer, sexier machines. Many tech recyclers even frequently hold free recycling drives–free warm and fuzzy feelings still included.
In the Reno Sparks area, you can have Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions recycle your computers, laptops, cell phones, all electronics including TVs.
Soltesz, Deborah L. “How Are Computers Recycled.” LiveStrong.com. N.p., 5 July 2010. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.
Recycle, Reduce and Reuse
According to the Environmental Protection Association (EPA), we generate about 3.2 million tons of e-waste (electronic waste) per year in the U.S. Only about 12.5 percent of that is recycled. Not only is that a danger to the environment, the data that can be retrieved from these electronics can be a security breach for your organization. For example, most multi-function copiers have Hard Drives and can hold as many as 25,000 documents. When those documents contain sensitive information, you may be putting your clients and your company at risk when you discard your copier and purchase a new one. By not recycling your e-waste, you also could be losing out on an additional revenue stream for your business.
Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions, located at 725 Greg St. in Sparks, NV, specializes in end-of-life issues for computers and all other electronics by either recycling or reusing them. They also provide data destruction and IT asset management. An average of 400,000 pounds of electronics are recycled in their 80,000 square foot warehouse each month. Considering how much of our e-waste ends up in landfills and incinerators, Erich Schmitt of intelligent Lifecycle Solutions, would like to see that increase. “All businesses should have an e-waste policy. I am often surprised how some companies and organizations don’t realize the value of their IT assets. Most organizations cycle through their electronics every three to five years. They typically purchase new PCs, laptops, servers and copiers to keep up with technology. Just like if you were to purchase a new car, there’s still value in your used car so you would either sell it or trade it in on your new vehicle. The same can be done with your electronics. In addition to having it recycled or reused, we also provide data destruction so confidential data is not compromised. So, while I charge for the data destruction service, I also write them a check for the materials,” said Schmitt.
Providing services to school systems is something that Schmitt is very passionate about as it provides additional revenue to a budget stretched educational entity. “The school systems in both Storey and Landers County have received checks from us because they recycle their IT assets with us. These assets have value. We pay a certain price per pound on laptops, PCs and servers. Other area school systems are giving away their valuable IT assets without considering how the money would help the schools in their areas.” When electronics aren’t recycled or reused properly, compromised security is always an issue. Medical, dental and insurance agencies need to be particularly cautious as they have a lot of confidential information about their clients. In additional to environmental hazards, it’s also an opportunity for data to be compromised and to steal identities. Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions has clients throughout the United States. Most of the materials they receive arrive on 53 foot trailers filled with pallets of electronics. The e-recycling process involves sorting the electronics and then dissecting them to pull precious metals out. There is definitely monetary value in e-waste. For example, each year cell phones that are simply placed in the trash contain over $60 million in gold and/or silver. Circuit boards contain 40-800 times more gold than one metric ton of ore. Data destruction is dictated by the client. Schmitt and his sales executive, Trista Begovich, have a collaborative relationship with their clients. “When we initially meet, we examine their e-waste policy. We want the relationship with our clients to be mutually beneficial. We not only want to be environmentally conscious, we want to save our client’s money and keep their data secure. Our agreements reflect this. We are currently seeking ‘target rich’ environments where we can make the greatest impact. Those environments can be big or small. We are eager to serve clients with one employee to thousands,” explained Schmitt.
For more information on Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions, go to lifecyclesolutions.net or contact Erich or Trista at 775391-1319. While they do have a global reputation for their electronic recycling, data destruction and asset management services as they were founded in the UK, they are a local business with about 40 employees servicing the western portion of the United States.