Most law firms go through a lot of paper in a year, and many are careful to recycle what they can. But paper is not the only consumable that attorneys handle in their practices. What happens to electronic equipment once it needs to be upgraded?
Approximately 70 percent of Earth’s toxic waste is technological. Fax machines, older cell phones, dead monitors, laptops, tablets, smartphones and towers all pose serious risks to environmental stability.
When a firm updates its technology, not all equipment will be refurbished or recycled. According to the EPA, most of it lands in the dump. EPA research has shown that approximately 92 percent of cell phones are sent to landfills. The mercury, lead and nickel in them (and in other technological devices) are harmful to humans, animals and the environment.
The serious ramifications have prompted some states to pass laws banning many devices from regular garbage collection to help avoid having them end up in landfills.
Does your firm dispose of its older equipment by donating or recycling it?
Donation is an attractive option as long as you keep security in mind. Fortunately, hard drives can be purged safely for a reasonable cost. Donation allows your firm to have a positive impact on your community, to claim tax benefits and to raise community awareness about the practice.
If donation is not a viable option, consider recycling older devices. Visit the EPA’s website for a location near your firm: resource conservation. Technology recycling is sometimes called “e-cycling”. Recent figures examining this practice claim that recycling one million laptops would save the electrical energy needed to power 3,657 homes for a year.
Your firm’s environmental efforts can also help with your public relations. Post your actions, pictures and thoughts on your website, social media pages and blog. Your conscientiousness may attract new, like-minded clients.