E-Waste in the Facility: Plague or Profit?

By Carol Baroudi
Sep 30, 2015 5:15 PM ET

Getting rid of the trash is a function that frequently falls to facilities management. As trash equates to waste, trash itself is a worthy target for the sustainability-minded, the economically minded, and the efficiency-minded.

Eliminating the root causes of waste typically translates to less use, less spend, and even process optimization. Take paper, as an example. If an electronic form can replace a paper form, not only is the paper form no longer needed, but the double entry – first on the form and then subsequently into some sort of automated system (frequently introducing errors) – can be eliminated. Paper you don’t use you don’t need to buy. Better for the environment, better for the business’s bottom line, and better for the quality of data. Triple win.

When getting rid of electronic waste also falls to facilities management, there’s ample opportunity to make choices that are better for the environment, better for the business’s bottom line, and better for data security. There are also significant risks you need to address. Make no mistake – the organization is vulnerable when electronic waste is not handled properly.

Risks to the organization include failure to properly eradicate data. No organization is exempt from data privacy regulations, which cover personnel records, financial data, and all sorts of proprietary information. It might not be obvious at first glance that sensitive data might reside on a copier, scanner, or printer. It can lurk in networking gear and on mobile devices long after you think you’ve deleted everything.

Conversely, just as appropriately collected paper might be sold to a recycler, appropriately handled electronics can potentially carry residual value for the organization. Ensuring secured data and responsible environmental stewardship help protect the organization and its brand.

I’ll be at the FMA Future Facilities Summit in Teaneck, New Jersey, October 21st and 22nd. I’ll be talking about the ways e-waste can help or hamper your organization, including tips for garnering extra LEED points. It’d be great to see you there! Need more information? Drop me a line at cbaroudi@arrow.com.

Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. She is the lead author of Green IT For Dummies. Her particular focus is on electronics at the IT asset disposition stage, e-waste, and everything connected. Follow her on Twitter @carol_baroudi and connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carolbaroudi. Follow FMA Summits on Twitter @FMASummits.