E-Waste Recycling for the Little Guys?


Even before State-based laws designed to govern the proper handling of used electronics began emerging across the US, many large corporations had made arrangements with collectors, through which they were able to recycle large numbers of obsolete equipment. But few easy, cost-efficient options exist for small and medium-sized businesses that want to recycle their smaller quantities of electronics. In fact, most small business owners are likely stockpiling computers and peripherals in garages or basements as we speak, waiting for word of the next e-waste collection event in their communities.
But a new e-waste recycling option has emerged for small and medium business located in Northern California. Give Something Back, a seller of office supplies, has launched an e-waste take-back program for its customers. Give Something Back is certified by Bay Area Green Business Program as well as B Corporation and donates a portion of its profits to charity. It also operates its business without retail stores, using thirty distribution centers around the country to ship orders to businesses.

Give Something Back customers in the Bay Area and Sacramento region can now unload their e-waste by having Give Something Back delivery drivers take the goods with them, next time an order is delivered. It’s free to the customers, and Give Something Back is able its cover its costs to offer the program (linked to administering the program and the extra work that its drivers must perform to collect the goods) by collecting a small percentage of the value that the electronics collector earns from the e-waste buyers. Plus, the program cuts down on transportation costs and fuel consumption, since it leverages the use of delivery trucks that would otherwise be returning to their distribution centers without any load.
“The program caters to small and medium-sized businesses that do not have existing contracts with an e-waste collector, and it helps saves [these businesses] from having to navigate through the complex and time-consuming process of managing their own e-waste collection,” says Stephanie Schlecht, Give Something Back’s director of sustainability.
If you’re in Northern California and want to learn more about the program and find out if you are eligible to participate (based on your zip code) visiting the program’s web page. Give Something Back partnered with Sims Recycling Solutions, a California-certified e-waste collector. It will collect CRT televisions and monitors, printers, scanners, cell phones, laptops, LCD monitors and DVD players.
Another option for businesses in NorCal is GreenCitizen, which provides pick-up as well as data wiping services for $30 per unit.
Because California has such progressive laws around collecting and handling e-waste, it’s no wonder that these services are cropping up in the Golden State. But there must be some other good e-waste collection services for small and medium-sized businesses out there in 3P land, right? Let me know in the comments section.
(One other nifty program that Give Something Back recently launched is worth a mention. In its cardboard box take-back program, its drivers pick up used cardboard boxes from customers in Sacramento and most cities in the Bay Area and reuse them for customer orders.)

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to www.mcoconnor.com.

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