How Being Environmentally Friendly Can Help the Bottom Line


The title of this article has been proven by many organizations; however, there exists additional benefits that may not be as tangible as the results on their financial statements. If companies really pay attention to their role as environmental stewards, they are at the same time minimizing their risk for any future environmental liabilities. This article will focus on some key issues that companies should consider when they possess surplus materials and equipment.
Advances in the design and manufacture of CATV & telecommunications equipment are critical to the industry, and its customers. These rapid advances have resulted in many positive improvements, including quality of services, range of services offered, and countless other benefits. Because of these vast improvements, and the quick return on investment, many organizations have a desire to implement the latest technologies as quickly as possible, thereby creating a shorter lifecycle for all types of technology related equipment.

The shorter lifecycle of this equipment creates increasing amounts of equipment that requires proper disposition. Efforts in design for the environment (dfe) and the reduction of hazardous substances(RoHS) will improve material yield, and decrease the environmental impact of the recycling process; but in the end, electronic systems still must be recycled properly.

In order for companies to be informed, it is necessary to consider the various recycling/recovery options, techniques, and final disposition of resultant materials from the cable TV & telecommunications industry, as well as challenges that face the industry.
Companies that take a proactive approach to this issue will benefit by having better control over the process, and ultimately have more “skin in the game”. The result will be better environmental stewardship, and a healthier bottom line. Recycling options include the 3-R’s (Reuse, Recovery, and Reclaim). Most industry experts agree that there exists a hierarchy of best practices for any type of equipment requiring disposition. Although reuse and recovery provide the best overall use and return values for surplus equipment, there also exists some risk. With equipment reuse and component recovery and resale, there are serious concerns with data security and intellectual property protection, as well the ultimate end use of the equipment. Before the resale or reuse of any equipment containing data storage devices such as a hard drive occurs, it is critical that these devices are effectively overwritten or sanitized in a certified manner that meets strict criteria.

Many organizations rely on DOD standard 5220.22-M as the minimum. The other, more definitive solution is physical destruction through the use of large process equipment such as shredders. Additionally, It is important that companies exercise due diligence when choosing a company to resell their used equipment. It has been documented that in many cases, equipment or component parts are shipped to developing countries categorized for reuse when the end result is not reuse, but sham recycling. Even when the equipment is legitimately destined for reuse, the final disposition of that equipment at the end of its useful life should be considered.

In North America there is a highly developed network of responsible electronics recyclers and asset management companies. They use varying processing options for destruction and material reclamation, including fully and partially automated material separation systems and hand dismantling, each having its own strengths and shortcomings.

Professional asset management companies employ sophisticated methods to track and inventory equipment, while ensuring that procedures are followed to eliminate risks of intellectual property loss and data security issues. Many of theses organizations have achieved quality and environmental certifications such as ISO & IAER

Even with the network of responsible recyclers in North America, intellectual property, data security, questionable recycling techniques and the improper recycling or disposal of materials are still concerns.

In addition to the need for accountability in managing the disposition process for excess equipment, it is becoming the norm for many companies to have a new, special emphasis on resource conservation, and minimizing their “environmental footprint”. Ultimately, recycling of this equipment is a much greater source of metals and plastics which are required for manufacturing of new goods than the traditional methods of mining, and production of raw materials. As in many industries, the key to success in recycling is having good partnerships, and understanding the requirements that exist in today’s marketplace.

Transportation and logistics expenses related to these materials can be a significant part of the total expenses for proper disposition. Dedicated logistics companies can offer effective solutions, and it helps to work with a recycling/recovery companies that have multiple facilities where material can be accepted security and intellectual property protection, as well the ultimate end use of the equipment. Before the resale or reuse of any equipment containing data storage devices such as a hard drive occurs, it is critical that these devices are effectively overwritten or sanitized in a certified manner that meets strict criteria.

Many organizations rely on DOD standard 5220.22-M as the minimum. The other, more definitive solution is physical destruction through the use of large process equipment such as shredders. Additionally, It is important that companies exercise due diligence when choosing a company to resell their used equipment. It has been documented that in many cases, equipment or component parts are shipped to developing countries categorized for reuse when the end result is not reuse, but sham recycling. Even when the equipment is legitimately destined for reuse, the final disposition of that equipment at the end of its useful life should be considered.

In North America there is a highly developed network of responsible electronics recyclers and asset management companies. They use varying processing options for destruction and material reclamation, including fully and partially automated material separation systems and hand dismantling, each having its own strengths and shortcomings.

This article was written by Peter Bennison, manager, Strategic Business Solutions for Metech International. It was excerpted from the PR News Going Green: Case Studies in Outstanding Green Business Practices, Volume 1.  To order a copy, visit http://www.prnewsonline.com/store/





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