"Disposing of e-waste will be easier than ever and the Business Council of Westchester and the Expo Committee is proud to bring our members and the community this amazing opportunity," said Allison Calvert of the BCW.
The Business Council's involvement with the Westchester Green Business Challenge in recent years has acted as a catalyst in bringing this e-waste initiative to the forefront. The goal of the WGBC is to help Westchester businesses become more environmentally-friendly through their green certification program. Companies in the WGB-Certified program are required to properly dispose of their e-waste in order to become certified. They recently gained the support of New York state government with a grant of $540,000 to expand the program over the next three years.
In recent years, more businesses have begun properly disposing of e-waste and there has been a greater awareness about what should and should not be thrown in the trash, especially when it comes to office equipment. Part of this awareness comes from the fact that companies want to ensure the appropriate elimination of the sensitive data that their computers may contain. Since 2009, the WGBC has helped raise awareness in the Westchester business community about what it really means to "go green" and has provided practical solutions to allow this to happen on a larger scale.
In 2014, 283 Westchester businesses completed a scorecard which included a section on the proper disposal of e-waste and some larger companies have already taken action by contracting with e-waste removal services and allowing employees to bring in any home or office e-waste they may have accumulated for proper disposal a couple of times per year. As a result, they've educated their staff about the importance of proper e-waste disposal, however not all small businesses have been able to make this a priority.
"One of the challenges of e-waste disposal for the small to medium-sized business is the cost of arranging an affordable pick up service," said Dani Glaser, CEO of Green Team Spirit, which runs the WGBC. "While it can be free to dispose of e-waste when you bring it to the drop-off site, it can be expensive to arrange a pick-up. One suggestion is for them to share the cost with fellow tenants in an office building, for example."
Progressive Computing, as a small business of Westchester, understands the problems with e-waste that many others are facing all too well. At first, the issue sparked their curiosity but soon enough, it became a personal passion of theirs.
"It's the dirty little secret in nearly every small business," Robert Cioffi, CEO of Progressive Computing says. "Most small businesses simply don’t have the means to properly dispose of their old electronics or the task is just too cumbersome...Eventually, we reach a breaking point and the disposal is not always performed in an environmentally friendly or secure way."
After studying the problem for years, they recognized what they considered to be two very large dangers. The first was the potential risk of leaking corporate data. The second was that most are unaware the ecological dangers of improper disposal of e-waste. Using what they've learned, they hope to address these problems on a broader scale and encourage the rest of the small-to-medium sized business community to do the same.
"We only work with vendors who are eStewards or R2 certified. These certifications are rigorous international standards that regulate the processing and disposal of electronics in an environmentally safe manner and also adhere to high standards that meet or exceed regulatory compliance such as HIPAA, PCI and SOX," said Cioffi. "Our clients are thrilled that we are beginning to offer reasonable, economical and viable options for doing the right thing."
Clancy Relocation & Logistics, a client of Progressive Computing, has played an integral role in moving their e-waste initiative along. In 2003, Clancy started picking up office equipment from larger customers who already had their own solution in place. In 2007, they began working with and providing transportation to Geodis Wilson, a freight management company that already had an effective e-waste plan in place. This inspired Clancy to figure out a better way to help their own customers solve the problem. After working with Geodis, Clancy developed their own system and today, they handle roughly 4.5 million pounds of e-waste each year.
"We bring e-waste to Geodis in Endicott, NY. There, they completely reverse engineer the e-waste. Components and raw materials are separated," explained Senior Vice President of Clancy Relocation & Logistics, Jim Carey. "They have taken a very bold approach in their method for handling e-waste because their methods require more work. But in the end, over 99% of the e-waste stays out of landfills."
There are many moving parts to putting into place and maintaining an e-waste solution, but the proper education and assistance is out there and that begins with the 2015 Westchester Business Expo. It's particularly important for more businesses to get on board with this initiative now, because as of January 1, it is illegal to throw anything that could be considered e-waste in the trash throughout the state of New York. This mean computers, televisions, game consoles and other electronic equipment and those in violation can be fined $100. The Business Council of Westchester wants the community to know how simple it can be to properly dispose of e-waste and wants to get people and businesses involved in the action.
"We encourage businesses of all sizes to follow set guidelines and procedures when disposing of important office technology so it does not negatively impact the environment," said John Ravitz, Executive Vice President of the BCW. "We all have a personal and professional commitment to protect our environment for generations to come."
The 2015 Westchester Business Expo will be held at the Hilton Westchester on March 18, from 1pm to 5pm. For more information, visit http://wbxpo.com/.
Business Council of Westchester
Contact: (914) 694-3919
Westchester Green Business Challenge
Clancy Relocation & Logistics