Twenty-five states have electronic waste recycling laws, according to the National Center for Electronics Recycling. Most require manufacturers to take back equipment or pay for recycling; some also ban e-waste from landfills. Yet in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 40% of computers that were ready to be replaced, as measured by weight, were recycled.
Minneapolis doesn't calculate how its program affects its carbon footprint. Neither does Sappi Fine Paper North America. The manufacturer donates e-waste from four locations in Maine and its Boston headquarters to eWaste Alternatives, which employs people with disabilities to refurbish the machines for use by low-income families, schools and nonprofits.
"The social aspect of working with eWaste Alternatives to benefit all of the communities and nonprofits they support was one of the primary factors" that convinced the company to donate, said Sappi's CIO, Anne Ayer, in an email. It doesn't hurt that the company has also reduced its e-waste disposal costs by at least 75%.
Why couldn't your company do the same? I think it's a no-brainer.