April 2012


E-Cycle……What will you do with that old equipment?

By: David Yered, Paragon Communications

The New York Times published a front page story about the recycling of computers and electronic waste on April 14, 1993. “E-Cycling” was given its first reference in a major publication.  It wasn’t long after and E-Cycling became an initiative by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The environmental concerns regarding e-waste stem from the many compounds that are known to have adverse impacts on the health of the environment and all living beings.  Currently the U.S. National Safety Council estimates that 75% of all personal computers ever sold are now surplus electronics. (1) 

There are Pros and Cons to recycling unwanted, unused and unnecessary telecommunications equipment.  Companies purchase and recycle all brands of working and broken laptops, personal computers, I.T. and telecommunications equipment from individuals and corporations.  Obsolete computers or other electronics are a valuable source for secondary raw materials.

The trend going forward is that manufacturers who take part in e-cycling are motivated to use fewer materials in the production process, create longer lasting products, and implement safer, more efficient recycling systems.  Many materials used in computer hardware and telecommunications equipment can be recovered by recycling for use in future production.  Reuse of these materials can reduce the costs of constructing new systems.  In addition, some companies buy the excess IT hardware and sell refurbished products to those seeking more affordable options than buying new.  E-Cycling is good for the environment and Refurbishing equipment is one way you can maximize equipment reuse, extend life cycles and reduce e-waste.

The other side to this is that the disassembly of certain equipment and materials can sometimes be very costly and hazardous.  There are concerns about where and who processes the e-waste.  Businesses currently have to contend with the nuances of the legislation enacted by the different states.  As the volume of e-waste has proliferated, state and local governments have begun implementing laws to contain it.  So far, 25 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling. Several more states introduced legislation in 2011.  All states except Californiaand Utahuse the Producer Responsibility approach, where the manufacturers must pay for recycling. This means that 65% of the population of the U.S. is now covered by a state e-waste recycling law. (2)

Every organization should have an E-Cycling initiative going forward.  Avaya started small with an initiative for Products & Packaging.  Avaya redesigned ten product families to reduce the material and logistics footprint of the product line.  Here are the results of that initiative.

  • Reduction in use of 6.3M ft2 fiber board, 15.5tons/188,000ft3 avoided landfill (foam) and 3900 wooden pallets from the system
  • Reduction in Ocean / truck containers required by 19% & fuel consumption by 17,800 gallons
  • Reduction in emissions over 210 tons of CO2
  • Other benefits such as reduction of warehousing costs (3)

New strategies are being implemented with our future in mind. Increasing the lifecycle of hardware is an option that has proven to reduce e-waste.  It can be a cost-effective strategy and it currently has some companies making purchases that allow the mixing and matching of components. 

Thinking about E-Cycling is a good business model for corporateAmericathat can make a difference in reducing e-waste.  With electronic waste representing 70% of toxins in our landfills, it is imperative that organizations put policies in place that specifically address this crucial growing problem.

Companies like Paragon offer services such as Asset Management, Reverse Logistics and Product Lifecycle services. Their partnerships with OEM’s like Samsung, Avaya/Nortel have given them extensive access to the remanufacturing supply chain.  E-Cycling with Paragon ensures the certified disposal and destruction of consumer and enterprise technology in accordance with the IERCE and the E Waste Management Industry standards. 


(1)Harris, Mark (2008-08-17). “E-mail from America: Buy-back gadgets”Sunday Times(Seattle, Washington). Retrieved 2009-03-10.
(3) http://www.tpg.com/value-creation