Reuse—The Final Arrow in Recycling
By: Barry D. Myerson
It seems that the hottest rage now is touting your company as being “green!” Whether this includes having a footer on each e-mail that states: “Please be responsible and only print this e-mail if necessary” or printing brochures or advertisements in green or on green paper, we all want to make a connection to “recycling.” Green is in!
Is this a bad thing? Not at all!! Whatever it takes to raise awareness on the benefits of technology recycling can only be a good thing. Regardless of what a company’s recycling efforts are in terms of recycling consciousness, the fact remains that as more companies participate in technology recycling, it benefits the environment as well as our businesses.
A Challenge to Traditional Technology Recycling
The challenge in technology recycling is the new face that is put on the term “recycling.” We used to simply see the word “recycle” and immediately think of physically dis-assembly of products. Metal goes in bins with metal, plastic with plastic, etc. For traditional technology recycling companies or service companies that pickup equipment from end users and provide the removal and actual technology recycling services, this is a good business. These companies provided a technology recycling service that benefits companies as well as help their own bottom line.
Today, the term “recycling” has added a new dynamic in technology recycling. Today, technology recycling companies are putting greater emphasis on re-use as that “final arrow” of the three green arrows associated with recycling. This has allowed more companies to add technology recycling to their portfolio as well as provide another service to their company’s offerings.
This new dynamic of technology recycling has benefited us as an industry as reuse continues to be one of the primary sources of the products for us all. Whereas before, our customers were reticent to release some of their technology for resale, now they are encouraged to do so by their management. For some, the reasons are related to “Green Initiatives” and others are motivated by returned capital, either way our businesses benefit.
Most secondary market resellers who receive whole units in their locations will determine based on their business model whether or not the units should be put back into the marketplace as whole units or torn down for parts. Both sale models achieve the same goal; using proper technology recycling or reuse to keep the equipment out of land fills while creating a revenue stream to the selling company. Very rarely does a business initiative and a moral imperative meet on an equal scale.
Education benefits of Reuse:
As technology needs increase in the not for profit or education entities throughout the country, we continue to see state funding for K-12 schools decreasing significantly. If we want our children to grow up understanding the benefits of utilizing technology, which is a necessary component to educational excellence, we need to find a better way to outfit our schools with affordable technology choices. Technology recycling and more importantly reuse is the answer.
Systems that come off lease in Corporate America still have some years of use left in them and can be utilized in our schools across America. A fifth grade elementary student learning Excel or a seventh grade middle school student putting together his first Power Point presentation can certainly do this on a P4 3.0 system and will not see any real benefit from using the latest system in the marketplace.
This is another excellent opportunity for reuse versus traditional technology recycling. There are a network of companies that work under the strict guidelines of Microsoft and their Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program allowing these licensed companies to install and test an operating system for systems sold to academic institutions and not for profit organizations.
The Partners in Learning program increases the amount of available systems for these entities at the same time decreases the number of systems that might have been left in storage in Corporate America’s warehouses or in landfills across the nation. This is another prime example of where that last arrow “reuse” benefits everyone including our industry, cuts down on electronic waste and benefits our collective children. Again, we see a business initiative meet a moral imperative.
As you peruse through PowerSource Online’s magazine or website, you will find numerous companies that provide technology recycling and remarketing services. These companies provide a cost savings for customers that no longer have to purchase new technology to replace older equipment with quality parts that increase their technology’s usefulness. In addition, these companies are helping our environment by utilizing that “last arrow” in the technology recycling chain……reuse.
Barry D. Myerson is the Director of Asset Recovery for TKO Electronics. TKO Electronics focuses on supplying secondary market parts and whole units, asset recovery services and Education market sales. For more information, please visit