By Paul Ploumis (ScrapMonster Author)
June 28, 2016 07:58:20 AM
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The latest study report by Chubb and ESIS, Inc. executives notes that electronic waste has become a growing concern for federal and state regulators. The report titled “Electronic Waste: Managing the Environmental and Regulatory Challenges” narrates the potential environmental and legal risks faced by companies, mainly due to improper handling of used electronics items.
The report reminds that companies need to first understand the potential hazards associated with the disposal of electronic equipment. Telecommunications equipment, security systems, computers, monitors, printers, mobile phones, and other electronic equipment often contain toxic metals like mercury and lead, along with valuable amounts of copper, gold and other materials. Because of the materials used in electronics, special care must be taken when disposing of unwanted or out-of-date equipment. As per US EPA estimates, recycling of million cell phones generates approximately 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium.
The electronic waste must be disposed of in the proper manner using disposal vendors that have the requisite expertise, certifications and permits. It must be noted that a national retailer was fined $2.78 million for disposing of waste, including electronic waste, batteries, and mercury lamps, in trash bins that were sent to local California landfills that did not have the necessary permits. Also, a leading telecommunications company had to pay more than $50 million in penalties for improper handling of hazardous e-waste.
The statistics for 2010 released by the Electronics Take Back Coalition suggests that nearly 2.44 million tons of computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, fax machines, computer peripherals, televisions, and mobile devices were disposed of during the year. About 27% of that was recycled. Category wise, 11% of the mobile phones and 40% of the computers were recycled during the year.
The report suggests that companies of all sizes in all industries must develop and implement strategies to deal with electronic waste. Companies should try to reduce waste and ensure that all waste are properly disposed of or recycled. They must ensure that the wastes are treated in compliance with the regulations at the local, state, federal and international level. Companies dealing with vendors for treatment of waste must ensure that they meet all regulatory requirements and possess all required permits and certifications.
With the rapid advancement of technological developments, the management of electronic waste has become a growing challenge in almost all industries. Improper handling of electronic waste poses financial and reputational risks. The companies that follow sustainability practices will emerge to become successful by lowering the risks of pollution. To protect their organization and its reputation, companies need to implement effective e-waste management strategies, and secure the most appropriate insurance coverage available for any remaining e-waste exposures.
The report is authored by Jasmine Nasiri-a Practice Leader for ESIS Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Consulting Services, Steve Piatkowski-Senior Vice President, Chubb Environmental, based in Philadelphia and Frank Westfall - Vice President of the Environmental Division of ESIS Health, Safety and Environmental based in Philadelphia.
Chubb Limited, formerly Chubb Corp. is the largest property and casualty insurer in the United States, with over 120 offices located in 54 countries, and offers commercial, specialty, surety, and personal insurance services.