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How to safely dispose of business computers and other electronics

Nov. 01, 2022 Technology Insights

Explore the ultimate guide to responsibly handling e-waste for businesses in Central Florida and Southeast Michigan


With businesses relying now more than ever on the latest and greatest technology to streamline their success, your company is likely producing a lot of e-waste—a popular term for electronic devices nearing the end of their useful life.

It’s important that your business properly disposes of old computers and other electronics through donations, recycling, or landfills for the well-being of your community and the environment. In fact, historical data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) states that recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent of the electricity used by over 3,500 homes in one year. [1]

Continue reading to learn why and how to responsibly dispose of computers and other electronics for your business with specific resources for companies based in the Orlando and Detroit areas. 


Why is it important to properly dispose of computers and other electronics?

Individuals and businesses alike need to properly donate, recycle, or dispose of computers and other electronics to reduce environmental damage, avoid breaking state and local e-waste laws, and conserve valuable resources. 

While electronic devices do not pose a threat during utilization, many of them contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium that can be released into the environment when they are compressed in landfills. For this reason, many cities and certain states have detailed requirements on how to safely dispose of electronics in a similar manner to hazardous substances like batteries, pesticides, and propane tanks.

In addition to avoiding contributing to air and water pollution, the responsible disposal of electronics through donations and recycling conserves valuable materials such as metals, plastics, and glass. [1]   


What steps should businesses take before disposing of electronics?

For businesses, following best practices for disposing of computers and other electronics is even more vital than personal devices because it ensures your company’s data security.

Once you have confirmed that your business device has reached the end of its lifetime, the first step to take is completely wiping the device of all sensitive data and personal information. If possible, it’s recommended for businesses to work with a trusted managed IT services provider for this step that will take responsibility for removing all confidential and personally identifying information off of electronic devices before disposal. 

In addition to clearing all personal data off of the device, the second step you need to take is removing any batteries from the device that need to be recycled separately. Certain types of batteries contain dangerous substances that should not be sent to landfills. For example, lithium-ion batteries and devices containing them can not be disposed of in regular garbage or recycle bins. [1]


What are the best ways to dispose of business electronics? 

After sensitive data and any dangerous batteries are removed, you can choose to dispose of your business electronics through one of the three methods below:  

1) Donate 

If a device no longer serves your business, but it’s still functional and not severely outdated, consider donating it to a charity or nonprofit organization that can give it to people in need.

You can start by reaching out to local organizations such as schools, libraries, recreation centers, and domestic violence or homeless shelters. There are also national nonprofit organizations that collect used electronics such as Goodwill Dell Reconnect, Computers with Causes, and The Salvation Army. Whichever organization you choose, be sure to get a receipt for the donation, so your business can deduct it on annual tax returns. 

2) Recycle

For business devices in no condition to be donated, recycling is your best option for eco-friendly disposal to conserve materials and keep toxic substances out of landfills. There are many recycling options available to you including:

  • Local e-waste collection events are regularly held by many cities and counties to help their residents safely dispose of old electronics, and your business can take part. Conduct some research on times and types of devices included in these collection events. 
  • National organizations with local resources have websites that can be used to find recycling options closest to your business, usually by entering your ZIP code. The EPA lists the following organizations as good options: Call2Recycle, Earth911, and the Consumer Technology Association’s GreenerGadgets. [1]
  • Electronic manufacturers and retailers have recycling programs for a wide variety of electronics with some offering incentives such as gift cards and rewards while others function as a trade-in program. Consider looking into the following depending on the device you’re donating: Amazon, Apple’s GiveBack program, and Best Buy

Note: The metals and components in computers, smartphones, and other devices are valuable, so you should not have to pay to recycle your devices. Be wary of recycling options that have a fee attached to them.

3) Landfill

In the instance that donation or recycling is not an option, your business can permanently dispose of computers and other electronics at your local hazardous waste facility. Whether operating at the city or county level, hazardous waste facilities will safely disassemble your electronics for proper disposal.

If your business is based in Orange County, Florida, residents can bring their electronic waste (free of charge) to a community collection event or drop-off location. They will take any electronic equipment with a circuit board such as cell phones and computers. Community collection event dates vary per month, but can be found here along with more details. Permanent household hazardous waste drop-off locations include the Orange County Landfill and Porter Transfer Station, which are both open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If your business is based in Detroit, Michigan, you can bring your electronics (free of charge) to the Department of Public Works Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Receiving Facility every Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and every Fourth Saturday of the Month from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They accept electronic items such as computer monitors, laptops, computer terminals, and printers. More information on the facility and acceptable items can be found here


How we can help with your business’s e-waste

At NeverBlue IT, we’re happy to help our clients remove all sensitive information from business computers and other electronic devices before disposal as part of our commitment to keeping their data safe with our tailored Cyber Security service.

If needed, we can also take the electronics to dispose of them in the proper locations in Southeast Michigan and Central Florida to ensure compliance with local laws and avoid causing unintentional harm to the environment. 


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1: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) | Electronics Donation and Recycling

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