Save money and save the environment. It is a win-win situation!
Our goal is simple -- prolong the usable life of computers and electronics and keep them out of landfills. We do this by following three simple rules:
- REDUCE - Extending the serviceable life of electronics reduces waste and the energy needed to produce new products.
- REUSE - By providing refurbished products recoupIT and our customers are contributing to the reduction of toxic wastes in our environment.
- RECYCLE - Dispose of non-serviceable and hazardous materials in an environmentally conscious manner.
As we become more dependent on electronic products to make life more convenient, the stockpile of used, obsolete products grows. Although used electronics represent less than two percent of the municipal solid waste stream, if we continue to replace old or outdated electronic equipment at our current rate, that percentage will continue to grow.
In 2012, used or unwanted electronics amounted to approximately
2.9 to 3.2 million tons. Of that, about 1.5 to 1.9 million tons were primarily discarded in landfills, and only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled.
Computer monitors and older TV picture tubes contain an average of four pounds of lead and require special handling at the end of their lives. In addition to lead, electronics can contain chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants. When electronics are not disposed of or recycled properly, these toxic materials can present problems. Extending the life of your electronics or donating your most up-to-date and working electronics can save you money and saves valuable resources. Safely recycling outdated electronics can promote the safe management of hazardous components and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable materials.
Preventing waste in the first place is usually preferable to any waste management option...including recycling. Donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste stream for a longer period of time. Reuse, in addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, also benefits society. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, nonprofit organizations, and lower-income families to obtain equipment that they otherwise could not afford.
Before donating your computer or other electronics, make sure the equipment is reusable. Donation organizations have limited or in many cases no resources and employees to diagnose and repair hardware. A functional, working system—especially with monitor, wiring, and software licenses—is a lot more useful and requires less upgrading than a nonworking, incomplete computer. Check to see what the donation organization's minimum computer requirements are (e.g., Pentium processor, Windows 95). Donation organizations might not accept (or might charge a fee for) older, less useful equipment (e.g., 386 processors, dot matrix printers, less than 14 inch color monitors).
As a business, you might be able to take advantage of tax incentives for computer equipment donations. The 21st Century Classrooms Act encourages large companies to donate computer equipment to public and private schools. When donating equipment to a nonprofit organization, inquire about documentation that can be applied toward your income tax return.
The most appropriate donation organization for computers can vary from area to area. In some cases, the most viable donation organization might be a charity, but in other areas, the appropriate donation organization might be the local school district or materials exchange.