by Rhonda Abrams, Columnist

Reprinted with permission from the News Journal/USA Today. Original publish date: Sunday, April 28, 2019.

It’s time to talk about how you can help protect the environment in your small business. In particular, what are you going to do with all that tech trash you have?If you own a small business, you’ve probably created a whole bunch of tech waste. Look around. I bet you have a box full (or a closet full) of old computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, and phones. One small thing you can do for the environment this Earth Week is to figure out a better way to deal with your small business tech trash. Here’s the first thing: Find ways to USE IT LONGER.

Refresh it.

The Environment aside, as a small business owner, you certainly can’t afford to buy new equipment every couple of years. You can often “update” your equipment by doing a complete reinstall on a computer or buying new or additional components for other equipment.

Repair it.

Yes, I know it may be difficult, especially since it may be hard to find repair services.Twenty states have introduced “right to repair laws.” These laws would give consumers the right to take their devices to third parties for repair rather than having to return them to the manufacturer. Of course, at some point you’ll no longer want your old devices, so here are some responsible (and legal) ways to get rid of your equipment:

Sell it.

Perhaps you can find a buyer for some of your old but working equipment. To figure out the value of your electronic devices, check out Gadget Value.

Donate it.

At some point, you may upgrade your devices and still have working ones to get rid of. If you donate, get a receipt.

Send it back.

Many device manufacturers offer easy ways to donate or recycle their devices. You can find a list on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Recycle it.

Certified electronics recyclers must meet specific standards for handling and recycling electronics, ensuring that toxic materials don’t end up in a landfill or in the environment. But Before you get rid of your equipment: DELETE YOUR INFORMATION.

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