Web Site Focuses on Recycling

EIA wants to give users an alternative when disposing of electronics.

When consumers are done with their electronic products, most of them will either throw each device away or put it in a storage room in their houses where it will most likely never be touched again.

To give users more options when it comes to disposing of their electronic devices, the Electronic Industries Alliance has created a Web site that acts as an online guide on how to recycle and dispose of their devices.

The Web site, E-Cycling Central (formerly known as the Consumer Education Initiative), was developed by EIAs Environmental Issues Council to provide users with ways to recycle used electronic products. Options include renovating the devices or donating them to schools, charities, or economically disadvantaged or disabled citizens.

Rick Gross, EIAs vice president of environmental affairs, said the site is designed to "provide the general public and institutional consumers [including small businesses, school districts, hospitals, universities and local governments] with access to information and resources for proper electronics recycling."

Recycling is a growing issue in the IT industry. According to research company Gartner, consumers and businesses worldwide will replace more than 800 million PCs over the next five years, with an estimated 64 percent being disposed of. Of those, 73 percent will be put in a landfill or stored, rather than recycled, Gartner said in November.

EIAs new Web site (www.eiae.org) provides users with a database of management options as well as tips on how to make decisions and how to properly manage their used electronic devices.

The site also gives users tips on how to remove important data from electronic devices before donating, selling or recycling them so that the users do not experience identity theft.

Gross, in Arlington, Va., said users can be financially hurt if they dont properly dispose of their used electronic devices.

"The consumers personal information could be taken from their used computer or wireless device," Gross said. "Disposing [of] an electronic device also wastes valuable resources, and the system/device might be exported to a facility that lacks the proper safety and training procedures to properly manage it."