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How To Manage Electronic Waste

electronic waste, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is managing electronic waste.

Facilities that collect and send used electronic equipment for recycling generally are not considered waste generators. As a result, they typically avoid hazardous-waste liability found under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Electronic wastes, such as batteries, fluorescent lamps, and other mercury-containing devices, have been reclassified by state and federal agencies as universal wastes, which allows for special control to treat or recycle these materials.

When considering recycling, managers first should check to see whether the product’s manufacturer or supplier offers some type of take-back program. Managers also can arrange to have used or unwanted electronics taken directly to a recycling firm. Electronics recyclers use a variety of processing methods, including:

•brokering by matching buyers and sellers
•reselling whole units
•remanufacturing or refurbishing equipment
•disassembling electronics into parts and subassemblies
•material recovery by physical separation to capture plastics, metals, or glass
•material processing, such as shredding and grinding
•and donating electronics to school systems and not-for-profit organizations.

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