Reclaim,Dispose and Recycling of E-Waste :
A Strategic Organizational Commitment?
This is a research paper where I have done study on E-Waste. I have done a research that how
this E-Waste can be Reclaimed, Disposed and Recycled. This is A Strategic Organizational
Commitment so as to do good for the society. We all know that the issue of E-Waste is not
prevailing only in India it is spread across the globe. It is said that if treated properly then this
can be a valuable source for secondary raw material. However, if not treated properly, it is a
major source of toxins and carcinogens. We all know that the fast or rapid technology change
low initial cost and well planned obsolescence of the system have spread this problem on a
larger scale across the globe. E-waste is the most rapidly growing waste problem in the world. It
is a crisis of not quantity alone but also a crisis born from toxics ingredients, posing a threat to
the occupational health as well as the environment. Due to higher reuse and repair capability,
as well as lower environmental standards and working conditions, markets for used electronics
have expanded majorly in China, India & Kenya. E-Waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity
and carcinogenicity of some of the substances if processed improperly. Toxic substances in E-
Waste may include lead, mercury and cadmium. Carcinogenic substances in E-Waste may
include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A typical computer monitor may contain more than
6% lead by weight, much of which is in the lead glass of the CRT. Capacitors, transformers, PVC
insulated wires, PVC coated components that were manufactured before 1977 often contain
dangerous amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls. Up to thirty-eight separate chemical
elements are incorporated into electronic waste items. The unsustainability of discarding
electronics and computer technology is another reason for the need to recycle or perhaps more
practically, reuse E-Waste. The processing system of E-waste have matured in recent years
following increased regulatory, public, and commercial scrutiny, and a commensurate increase
in entrepreneurial interest. According to a latest study APPLE COMPUTER SYSTEM has
developed such kind of material which is biodegradable and will not toxicate the environment.
This is a very good and great step by any organization towards society and people. This will be a
great step towards humanity as a whole and also towards the people who are working in the
factory and also who are using that product regularly.
I would be discussing all the above issues in my research paper.
In this world of competition all organization needs to give some Strategic Organizational
Commitment for the social welfare of the society. The biggest challenge of today’s business
world is the usage of technology. All organizations love to use the latest gadgets and
technology. This is because all the organization want to compete and grow in this environment
of competition. This causes production of E-Waste after a certain period of time when the
organizations decide to scrap all the old systems and replace them with new ones.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste is the waste electrical products. E-waste for short - or Waste Electrical and Electronic
Equipment (WEEE) - is the term used to describe discarded appliances using electricity. It
includes computers, consumer electronics, fridges etc which have been disposed of by their
original users. Recyclable electronic waste is sometimes further categorized as a "commodity"
while e-waste which cannot be reused is distinguished as "waste". Both types of e-waste have
raised concern considering that many components of such equipment are considered toxic and
are not biodegradable. E-waste contains both valuable as well as harmful materials which require
special handling and recycling methods.
Why to Reuse or Reclaim E-Waste?
The E-waste can be reused by many ways. One of the most cheap and easy way is to donate the
unused computers and electronic systems to NGO’s and social well being organizations that are
working for poor people and social well being. This kind of old system can also be sold to small
dealers. Above all the organizations must keep a policy that the systems have to be kept under
usage for a fixed period of time so as to reduce E-Waste. Even the organization can reuse them
for outsourcing departments. Few of the above steps will not only help to save the growth of
E-Waste however it will also be a great step towards social welfare for Organizations who are
working for the society and its development. On top of this Organization will also make a
strategic plan to help the poor and backward people by reusing these old technical products.
Why or How to Dispose E-Waste?
The E-Waste cannot be disposed this was a very old concept. In the current scenario there are
organizations who will dispose this waste for you. Only you need to send a mail or an order for
getting it collected from your door steps. They will send you the packing material and will get it
collected from your location. These organizations do all this for a very nominal fee for their
service. They are doing this for welfare or society and also for the purpose of doing business
since this sector is growing day by day due to increase in usage of electronic goods and also due
to high development of technical products.
Now we need to understand that why the E-Waste should be disposed properly. If we look at
Table 1 below we can see the figure of 2007, the number of discarded U.S. Computers was total
of 500 million.
Now from the above table we can see that if only U.S. alone is producing so much of toxic
waste then what would be the massive amount of toxic waste that would be produced across
PLASTICS 6.3 BILLION 2.8 BILLION
LEAD 1.6 BILLION 0.7 BILLION
CADMIUM 3.0 MILLION 1.4 MILLION
CHROMIUM 1.9 MILLION 0.9 MILLION
MERCURY 623,000 280,350
COMPONENT WEIGHT WEIGHT
S.NO COMPUTER WASTE HAZARDS OF THESE WASTES
1 BARIUM PROTECTS USERS FROM CRT RADIATION;CAN
2 CADMIUM USED IN SOME CHIPS, CRT’s; DAMAGES
3 BERYLLIUM ON MOTHERBOARDS , CONNECTORS ,
4 BROMINATED FLAME RETARDANTS , REDUCE LEVEL OF
HORMONE ESSENTIAL FOR NORMAL GROWTH
5 PLASTICS USED THROUGHOUT; PCV PLASTICS FORM TOXIC
DIOXIN WHEN BURNED
6 PHOSPHOR APPLIED TO INSIDE OF CRT FACE PLATE;VERY TOXIC
8 LEAD CRT’s , CIRCUIT BOARD SOLDER;INHIBITS
9 CHROMIUM PROTECTS STEEL PLATES,HOUSING;CAN DANAGE
DNA,CAUSE ASTHMATIC BRONCHITIS
10 MERCURY LIGHT BULBS,DAMAGES
Again from the above table we can understand the kind of hazardous materials are produced
from computer waste and the extent they harm our health. So from the above data we can
understand that why we need to dispose E-Waste properly.
Why or How to Recycle E-Waste?
E-Waste is a term which covers modern electronic equipments such as televisions, computers,
mobile phones, printer cartridges, etc. Because this equipment rapidly goes out of date,
modern countries are generating millions of tons of E-Waste annually. Because a significant
fraction of E-waste is toxic (viz. lead, mercury, and chromium), many states are moving quickly
to enact E-Waste Government Rules on disposal/recycling practices. Many legal bodies have
made it illegal to dispose E-Waste in our regular trash because of the dangerous chemicals that
are found inside them, which include few of the major toxins like lead, cadmium, beryllium
oxide, lithium, mercury, sulphur and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These items need to
recycled carefully and safely.
My research has been done by taking in to concentration the global aspect in terms of social,
environmental and organizational commitments towards our society.
At first I would like to talk about the effect on Environment. Waste of all sort put together a big
impact on the Environment in the form of Global Warming and one of the major reason or the
biggest contributor is E-Waste. It is because of electronic revolution the Globe has become a
Village. So, I have done the study of the problem of E-Waste with this perception in mind.
Political boundaries of respective countries should not be the only criteria of dealing with such
grave problem. I am not advocating ignoring respective political boundaries, but there should
be a practical global solution to the issue.
In the present situation all the countries are trying to resolve his concern within their own
territory. It is very interesting to know that the businesses to transaction of electronic good are
practically permitted across the globe. However the initiative of using, recycling or disposing
the end or scrapped E-Waste product has not been taken by any countries, this has been
restricted on the ground of hazardous nature of product. Again one interesting fact is that few
agencies and organization has taken initiative on their own interest so as to dispose or recycle
the E-Waste product, since this is a new scope of business and to earn profit and also to be
pioneer in this business.
I have found out few of the organization who are taking initiative and are working so as to
dispose the E-Waste.
US Postal Service: This organization believes to provide service for free so as to have a green
environment. This service has been started in 1500 Post Offices in U.S. This provides service for
free, inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players without any
requirement to pay for postage. They have envelopes in the post office for sending these items
for free. Postage charge is paid by Clover Technologies Group, a nationally recognized company
that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small
electronic goods. If the electronic item or cartridges cannot be refurbished and resold, its
component parts are reused to make or create other items, or the parts are broken down
further and the materials are recycled. Clover Technologies Group has a “zero waste to landfill”
policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills.
The free, postage-paid Mail Back envelopes can be collected from the displays in Post Office
lobbies. There is no limit to the number of envelopes customers may take. The Postal Service
recycles 1 million tons of paper, plastic and other materials annually. Last year, USPS generated
more than $7.5 million in savings via recycling and waste prevention programs. The
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Postal Service eight WasteWise
Partner of the Year awards, the agency’s top honor. The Mail Back program is another example
of the Postal Service’s commitment to sustainability. USPS is the only shipping or mailing
company in the nation to receive Cradle to Cradle SM Certification from MBDC (McDonough
Braungart Design Chemistry) for human and environmental health. More than 15,000 metric
tons of carbon equivalent emissions (climate change gases) now are prevented annually.
Staples: This organization will recycle computers, office technology products, ink and toner
cartridges, cell phones and other personal electronics, and rechargeable batteries.
IKEA: IKEA has a vision to do more with less. This goes hand in hand with all kind of
environmental work and to use resources in a very economical and careful way. These stores
usually help to recycle burnt out CFL light bulbs.
Three pillars in IKEA’s environmental work are as follows :
• Cost consciousness and resource efficiency always result in less usage of raw material
and less waste and discharges.
• The wood is used extensively in making of products. Wood is a recyclable,
biodegradable and renewable material and it is excellent from an environmental point
• Training and engaging of co-workers to work with environmental issues.
[For above reference (1)]
Apple Computer: Apple is doing a lot of R & D so as to eliminate toxic chemicals from their
products. In the 2008 Environmental Update Steve Jobs had provided an overview on Apple’s
progress to eliminate mercury and arsenic from displays and Brominated Flame Retardants
(BFR’s) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) from internal components. Steve Jobs also talks about
Apple’s policy regarding climate change, steps taken to improve product energy-efficiency as
well as overall recycling performance during 2007. They recycle old computer and monitor for
free with the purchase of any qualifying Apple computer or monitor. However, they will also
recycle cell phone or iPod free of charge with no purchase necessary.
[For above reference (2)]
Waste Management: This is a huge trash services company. This recycles fluorescent bulbs,
batteries, and other universal wastes with their recycling kits.
[For above reference (3)]
Office Depot: This organization takes back old stuff for recycling, but charges for the small,
medium or large box that you can fill to the brim with stuff to be recylled.
This can be done in three simple ways :
• Three tech recycling boxes are available in three different sizes. Small will cost
$5.Medium Will cost $10.Large will cost $15.
• Fill the Tech Recycling Box with all the acceptable items and the box should not be
• Submit the box to any Office Depot Store for further processing.
Glass Plastic Copper Aluminum
The types of materials that are generated through Tech Recycling Process are GLASS, PLASTIC,
COPPER, and ALUMINIUM.
Dell Computers: This organization will recycle any brand of computer, keyboard, mouse,
monitor or printer, and they will pick it up from the door step.
[For above reference (4)]
All the above organizations are working for E-Waste disposal and recycling in a global terms.
With all the different companies willing to recycle e-waste free of charge, there really is no
need to pay for recycling of E-Waste. If any individual or organization don’t have access to any
of the resources listed above and they need to find an e-waste recycler in there nearby area,
then websites like E-Cycling Central, Earth 911, the National Recycling Coalition, or Call 2
Recycle can be used. Whatever needs to be done should be done and any E-Waste should not
be thrown in the trash – since it ends up either being burned and the toxic gasses are released
into the atmosphere, or it ends up sitting in a landfill where the toxins to slowly leach into
My conclusion is that many organizations as an Organizational Commitment are working to
protect the environment form the ill effect of E-Waste by supporting those organizations who
are taking initiative to recycle E-Waste safely and properly.
Now I would like to discuss the use of E-Waste for our giving service to our society. The very
first way is to reuse the old computers and electronic products by giving them back to the
society in a very cheaper price. Recycling a computer in the US costs about $20, but the same
thing can be sold here for a mere $4 [Fo reference (5)].
Old systems can also be reclaimed by small industries that have a smaller budget so as to spend
These computers are not only reused but can also be given to those students who are
interested in learning computers.
The computers have been sent to computers centers so as to spread computer literacy across
the globe. Even organizations can take up responsibility to set up IT lab in school by using old
systems. These organizations also help government schools or schools at village to setup small
computer labs so as to spread computer literacy. If these systems can not be sold out then
these are donated by the organizations to the NGO’s and small government school who can not
effort to purchase computers.
In this research document I have cover three main aspects the effect of E-Waste on
environment, How it can be Reclaimed or Reused, How it can be disposed properly and finally
how these can be used for social welfare.
All the above points have been read and studied properly and all the possible ways have been
discussed so as to help the organization to achieve its organizational strategic commitment in
all the three aspects.