Twenty-five years ago, when EarthWalk was a burgeoning ed-tech company, the classroom landscape was a different animal. Overhead projectors were a premier technology and the T-84 calculator had yet to be invented. Today, schools cycle through millions of laptops every three to five years, electronic whiteboards have replaced the chalkboard, and no one has seen an overhead projector in more than a decade. But where does all of this technology go when it dies?
In 2019, the U.S. alone produced 6.92 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste). That is roughly 46 pounds of e-waste per person. Forty-six pounds is equivalent to the weight of an average six-year-old. E-waste represents two percent of trash in America’s landfills–but 70 percent of our toxic waste. Over the past 25 years, countries across the globe have designed and manufactured technology at an astonishing rate, but failed to responsibly dispose of all these iPads and smart boards. E-waste contains toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury that can leach into the soil when not properly trashed. According to a 2019 UN report, less than 20 percent of e-waste is formally recycled, with 80 percent either being informally recycled or ending up in landfills.
EarthWalk recognizes our customers face a dilemma when replacing end-of-life technology. We are proud to introduce UPCYCLE—a full-service R2 compliant and R2 certified recycler that effectively and sustainably disposes of your old IT equipment—as a green partner with EarthWalk. As UPCYCLE CEO Mark Detroia says, “We’ll take anything with a plug.” UPCYCLE manages IT asset removal with transparency. They provide a complete inventory of items to be removed and will pack, load and transport your old equipment to their secure warehouse where certified technicians wipe all sensitive data and produce a certificate of destruction within 24 hours. After reporting all assets to the client, UPCYCLE donates any viable technology and, working only with R2 compliant recyclers, formally de-manufactures all e-waste.
Earth Day is traditionally celebrated this month in schools across the country. Technology has revolutionized classroom settings but also created an epic environmental problem we seldom think about. Based on current trends, reports predict the total amount of e-waste generated worldwide will reach 67 million tons (74 million metric tonnes) by 2030—almost doubling the output from 2014. Talk to your students about the complete lifecycle of precious smartphones and gaming systems. And contact us when you’re ready to replace and recycle any of your IT equipment.
Further information on R2 Certification and Compliance:
Sustainable Electronics Rycycling International (SERI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and an ANSI Accredited Standards Development Organization
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