Recently, CIO Magazine reported on the risky practice of throwing out old, obsolete hardware along with the rest of the trash. In his article “Hazardous Waste,” Steven Rowe warns that such a practice not only threatens the environment, but it could also end up costing your organization millions of dollars in legal fees and cleanup costs.
What do you do with those outdated monitors, keyboards, and mice? If you can’t throw it out, where does it go? We want to know how you deal with the burden. Start a discussion and offer some advice for retiring those old machines.
The potential threats
A recent TechRepublic poll found that 27 percent of respondents threw out old hardware. PCs, keyboards, monitors, and other components contain lead and other heavy metals, along with various contaminants that are harmful to our health and to the environment.

According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, the cathode ray tubes found in many monitors follow automobile batteries as the second largest source of lead in the state’s waste cycle. Art Dunn, director of the Minnesota state agency, cited an analyst who suggested that for every three televisions and computers purchased, two are thrown away.

The greatest liability issue, according to Rowe, is the Superfund law passed in 1980, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to locate contaminated dump sites, organize cleanup efforts, and track down the guilty parties to foot the bill. Although Superfund affects all states in the United States, it’s hardly exclusive. Individual states differ in certain laws and regulations that you could be violating by throwing old PCs into the dumpster.

Start a discussion and share your organization’s solution to the problem of old hardware.