Staples, ERI Partner on Electronics Recycling Service

Businesses can order recycling boxes online, then fill the boxes with electronics and ship back to Staples using a provided return label.

IT management and electronics recycling

The business-to-business division of office supply giant Staples has partnered with Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) to help and encourage businesses of all sizes to recycle large volumes of electronics conveniently, responsibly and in a secure manner.

The Staples Advantage program allows businesses to recycle equipment, be it cell phones and keyboards or telecom equipment and multi-function devices, by following a three-step process.

"Recycling has been a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Businesses simply don’t know what to do with their old electronic equipment. Businesses are aware that they can’t dispose of electronics in the trash for both environmental and possible data loss reasons, but they don’t know how or where to dispose them properly," Al Zoldos, vice president of sales for Staples Technology Solutions, told eWEEK. "Small businesses don’t get the attention of large bulk recyclers, so in many cases they just sit on the dark equipment."

First, businesses must order recycling boxes online, then fill the boxes with electronics and ship back to Staples using a provided return label.

Finally, businesses will receive a Certificate of Recycling from Staples that their electronics have been properly recycled and data safely removed.

The certificate is accredited by the e-Stewards Initiative, a project of the Basel Action Network, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible recycling of e-waste.

ERI is e-Stewards and R2 certified to de-manufacture and recycle every type of electronic waste in an environmentally friendly manner.

All of ERI’s processing facilities are also ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified, and the company processes more than 250 million pounds of electronic waste annually at eight locations across the United States.

"There are a variety of reasons that recycling makes good business sense. In some cases there is salvageable value in the goods being recycled, while in other cases the equipment can be redeployed and reused by someone else," Zoldos said. "Additionally, benefits include freeing up valuable space; creating a more professional appearance and mitigating the risk of data loss through proper and timely disposition."

Zoldos said monitors, printing devices and desktop computing devices are the most common items brought in, as there is a very high installed base of these items and they are typically no longer in working order.

He also pointed out these devices tend to be larger and bulkier, thus creating an unsightly scene when sitting idle in an office space.

The cost for this service will range from $15 to $500 depending on the size of the box ordered, with options ranging from a 9-inch by 5-inch by 3-inch box to full pallets, and the company noted customized solutions are also available.

Staples Advantage will also integrate this offering into its future Managed Print Services contracts, offering a way for companies to recycle devices no longer needed after a consolidation effort.

According to the EPA, the global volume of e-waste is expected to more than double by 2016, reaching 93.5 million tons compared to 41.5 million tons in 2011.