Electronics Management Options
Businesses should not throw away computers and other electronic equipment and must follow all state and federal regulations regarding the proper management of unwanted electronics. Generally, businesses should:
- donate the equipment to an organization for reuse (e.g., non-profits, schools, churches); or
- recycle it.
Otherwise, businesses wanting to dispose of electronics must follow hazardous waste regulations unless they prove through Knowledge of Process (KOP) or testing that the electronic equipment is not hazardous. KOP means the business has data or other information from the manufacturer that the components will not be hazardous if properly disposed. Keep all records.
If a business decides to recycle, there are a variety of companies that provide recycling of unwanted electronic equipment.
When selecting a recycling vendor, ask these questions:
- How long has the recycler been in business? Can the recycler provide business references?
- How is the material managed? How does the recycler handle the demanufacture and final disposal of all components and hazardous materials? Is any equipment exported? If so, where and what happens to the equipment?
- Does the recycler verify data destruction?
- Does the recycling vendor have certification such as R2 , e-Stewards or another comparable industry or governmental standard?
Improperly managed electronics can be a business liability. If a business chooses a collector/recycler who improperly manages or disposes of electronics, the business (the generator of the waste) may be liable for cleanup. According to state and federal regulations, hazardous waste generators are responsible for final disposition of hazardous waste. Businesses should give as much thought to the selection of a collector/recycler of unwanted electronics as they would give to any other hazardous waste collector or recycler.
For information on applicable hazardous waste regulations, call DHEC's Division of Compliance and Enforcement at 803-898-0456 .