UK Business Recycling Guide
Recycling is often considered a recent phenomenon, but has in fact been around for years, ever since people realized that reusing old resources is far more efficient than coming up with new ones.
Agricultural societies have always had a strong recycling ethic, and wartime governments often develop recycling policies to conserve valuable resources.
But it is only in the past decade that recycling has become a lifestyle choice, with the fashion-conscious joining the environmentally aware in wearing their morals on their (ethically appropriate) sleeve.
We can now buy earrings made from recycled aeroplanes, fleeces made from recycled bottles, trousers made from recycled saris and handbags made from recycled inner tubes.
And behind this glamourous veneer is the rather more unsavoury job of picking through the week's rubbish to separate newspapers from wine bottles, plastic bags from tin cans, batteries from tetra-packs, so that they can all be sent off for recycling.
The modern world has become far more aware not only of where things come from, but of where they end up once we've finished with them. Many householders refuse to buy meat they believe may have been factory farmed, or clothes that might have come from a sweatshop.
And likewise, a new generation of children is growing up with the notion that our discarded bottles and paper and clothes should not end up rotting in landfill sites or being washed up on beaches, but instead should be refilled, or repulped, or sent to charities.
But what are the implications of this new cult of recycling for businesses? Most offices now have a separate bin for paper, and perhaps even one for drinks cans, but is there anything else the environmentally conscious business can do to lessen its impact and optimize its resources?
Electronic equipment is one of the most difficult things to recycle, since it contains a large number of potentially toxic components. Metals, plastics and circuit boards have to be meticulously disassembled, before they can be sent off for recycling.
However, it is often possible to send unwanted computer parts to charities, where they will be overhauled and donated to community groups, disabled people and foreign aid organizations.
Businesses seeking a cost-effective way of recycling old computers are sometimes advised to contact the manufacturer, who can arrange recycling options.
When IT equipment comes from several different manufacturers, it is often best to hire a third-party contractor that specializes in corporate computer disposal services and can arrange recycling of parts in compliance with local regulations and laws.