As the world becomes more and more dependent on electronic products, we face a new environmental challenge: electronics waste. Electronics waste (or Ewaste) includes discarded computers, keyboards, monitors, ink jet and toner cartridges, cell phones and rechargeable batteries, TVs, personal stereos, digital cameras, MP3 players, DVD players and electronic games. It is estimated that over 100 million computers, monitors and televisions and about 300 million other consumer electronics such as cell phones and printers become obsolete each year. Ewaste accounts for 40 percent of the lead and 75 percent of the other heavy metals found in landfills. These toxic heavy metals include chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, and zinc. These wastes also contain valuable metals including gold, silver, palladium, platinum, aluminum, and copper. Recycling discarded electronic equipment not only conserves our natural resources, but helps avoids air and water pollution that are caused by the manufacturing of new products. Procedures for managing Ewaste at OU are as follows:
Toner cartridges for copiers on the OU Contract with BMI should be returned to BMI.
Other ink jet and toner/laser cartridges can be recycled, free of charge, by our current office supply vendor, OfficeMax. This can be accomplished in one of three different ways:
- Give your empty cartridges to the driver when you receive a shipment from OfficeMax.
- Send an e-mail to email@example.com and they will pick them up within 7-10 business days.
- If you have the bag or label from the replacement cartridge, place the used one in the bag and drop it in the mail or give it to UPS. Shipment will be prepaid by OfficeMax.
On the OU-Norman campus, ink/printer cartridges can be sent through campus mail to Refuse and Recycling.
Alkaline batteries (the everyday household batteries used in flashlights, remote controls, and other appliances) may currently be disposed in the regular trash.
Most small, round "button-cell" type batteries found in items such as watches and hearing aids contain mercury, silver, cadmium, lithium, or other heavy metals as their main component. Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad), nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, and small-sealed lead rechargeable batteries also contain hazardous constituents.
Lead/acid car batteries and UPS batteries [small sealed lead-acid (SSLA)] contain sulfuric acid, which is a hazardous waste. Laptop batteries contain lithium. On the OUHSC campus, complete the form at http://compliancedev.ouhsc.edu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=e-L03loqtf4%3d&portalid=71 and send it in an email to the EHSO for disposal or recycling of these types of batteries. At OU-Tulsa, contact Bob Farringer.
On the OU-Norman campus, SSLA, Ni-CD, lead-acid car batteries, and all other rechargeable batteries can be recycled through the Refuse and Recycling Department. Battery recycling buckets can be requested for shops or offices by contacting Refuse and Recycling at either 325-8068 or Recyling@ou.edu.
The following Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides further information regarding the proper disposal of batteries: http://www.epa.gov/msw/battery.htm
At OUHSC and OU-Tulsa, the disposition of cell phones that store sensitive university data (e.g., spreadsheets with SSNs in email attachments) must follow the Electronic Data Disposal and Reuse policy found at http://it.ouhsc.edu/policies/DataDisposal.aspand the Portable Computing Device Security policy at http://it.ouhsc.edu/policies/PortableDeviceSecurityPolicy.asp . The IT Service Desk has the capability to provide a remote data delete service for University-owned BlackBerry cell phones. When properly notified, the Service Desk can remotely wipe the data from the Blackberry before it goes to surplus or is re-used.
Once the device has had all software and data files destroyed in accordance with these policies, then personal cell phones may be recycled through several charitable organizations.
At OUHSC, University-purchased cell phones should be recycled through the GreenSafe procedures found at http://it.ouhsc.edu/services/servicedesk/greensafe.asp.
On the OU-Norman campus, all university-purchased cell phones should be sent to OU Property Control. A Surplus Equipment Form should be completed and forwarded to OU Property Control located at 2101 W. Tecumseh Road Suite B. Please contact OU Property Control at 325-2782 if you have any questions or concerns.
Information on recycling personal cell phones may be found at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/plugin/cellphone/index.htm
COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA
At OUHSC, the disposition of all computers and electronic media should follow the GreenSafe procedures found at http://it.ouhsc.edu/services/servicedesk/greensafe.asp. This GreenSafe program is the designated procedure for OKC-based organizations of the OU Health Sciences Center to comply with the existing OUHSC Electronic Data Disposal policy and standard.
On the OU-Norman campus, the disposition of computers should be handled through Information Technology. This can be accomplished by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing what it is your recycling. The e-mail should include the make, model, and computer accessories you wish to recycle. All other electronic media should be sent to OU Property Control. A Surplus Equipment Form should be completed and forwarded to OU Property Control located at 2101 W. Tecumseh Road Suite B. Please contact OU Property Control at 325-2782 if you have any questions or concerns.
The ESHO encourages everyone to do their part to minimize waste and recycle/reuse our valuable resources, both at work and at home. For information on how you can help the environment by recycling or donating your HOME computers and electronics, check out EPA’s webpage at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm.
If you have any questions, contact your campus EHSO.