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Electronic Waste Issues Are Accelerated by New Technology

To stay current with the latest tech trends, especially with the rapid advancement in electronics, one needs to upgrade at least once a year. This speedy introduction of new technologies has led to an escalating end-of-life electronics (eWaste) problem.

eWaste is a growing problem and with it comes a need for effective electronics recycling programs. Consumers need to realise the impact of these redundant electronics on the environment and also understand how to get rid of unwanted equipment responsibly.

According to Xperien CEO Wale Arewa, electronic devices are constantly evolving and that will never cease to end. "Sadly, society has become so captivated by the latest and greatest technologies that they simply discard of old equipment as opposed to recycling them for what they’re worth."

Most electronic devices are made up of materials that are harmful, not only to people, but to all living creatures and also the environment. They contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium but may also contain other heavy metals and potentially toxic chemical flame retardants. Therefore, proper processing is essential to ensure that these materials are not released into the environment.

Industry best practices recommend disposing of electronic gadgets by taking them to electronic device and computer disposal sites. There are a number of reputable electronic recycling services online that are willing to purchase old and used electronic waste.

In South Africa, there are laws that regulate the disposition of eWaste, these include Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (PoPI 2013), the National Environmental Waste Management Act 2008 (NEMWA 2008) and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA).

Arewa says Xperien specialises in IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) that includes removing electronic waste and electronic recycling. "Not only will we pay you for your used electronic equipment and gadgets, we will pay for all shipping and logistics costs as well as provide you with a Certificate of Data Destruction upon completion."

A Certificate of Data Destruction gives consumers an assurance that every possible measure was taken to safely and securely eradicate and destroy all data compliant with government and industry regulations.

Recycling is always a better option, instead of discarding old computers and electronic equipment; one can rather donate them to charitable organisations. Needy communities or schools could take advantage of pre-owned electronics.

Through its Urban Mining initiative, Xperien aims to collect redundant computers from corporate companies, by offering to sanitise the data residing on these computers, refurbish them and redistribute them to previously disadvantaged communities.

All computer equipment that is donated is refurbished and redeployed with a one year certified warranty. Xperien ensures that the recipients receive fully functional computers. This process also exceeds the requirement of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 which prescribes that donated equipment is ‘deemed to be in working order’.

Xperien has achieved Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO 14001:2004 accreditation for refurbishment and redistribution of redundant IT assets and equipment. ISO 14000 is a global series of EMS standards that were developed for organisations to incorporate environmental aspects into operations and product standards.

"It is becoming vital to recycle and dispose of old electronics in a responsible manner. Penalties for poor disposal of redundant IT assets could be costly but this could be prevented by appointing a professional hazardous waste generator. Most companies have masses of eWaste waiting to be discarded, this could include servers and storage devices, computers, tablets, phones and fax machines," he concludes.

Fog and Nature
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