What is e-cycling?

E-cycling, also known as electronic recycling, is the reuse or recycling of used electronic materials to limit e-waste. Commonly recycled electronics include cell phones, computers, household appliances, and lithium and lithium-ion batteries.

Environmental benefits of e-cycling

Recycling electronic materials by either rehoming them for a new purpose, such as donating older computers to schools, or salvaging reusable components limits e-waste and unnecessary extraction of nonrenewable resources. When electronics are recycled properly, hazardous chemicals, like mercury, are more easily contained and reduce exposure to the environment. Proper disposal of harmful chemicals reduces groundwater contamination.

When electronics are recycled, nonrenewable materials, such as gold, silver, platinum and copper, are saved and reused, which limits mining practices to unearth raw materials. Rehoming electronic components or equipment also limits mining efforts as technology gains longer life spans with different uses.

Statista predicts e-waste generation to average an increase of 2 million metric tons a year. E-cycling practices can help limit e-waste growth. Find local e-cycling locations here.

Why is e-cycling important for businesses?

E-cycling provides cost savings and positive environmental impacts. When a business reuses outdated equipment, it saves on the cost of new technology that could carry out the same function.

Maximizing technology's life for any purpose will cause technology to last longer year over year. Businesses that e-cycle their electronics reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills and, eventually, pollutes the air or water system.

How does e-cycling work?

Electronic devices are sent to certified e-cycling locations for proper disposal. Not only are there hazardous chemicals in enterprise equipment, but there is also sensitive data that could be retrieved from hardware if it is not disposed of correctly. Simply throwing away a device is not secure enough to protect data. Because of this, there are specific steps that occur when recycling electronics.

Certified e-waste and e-cycling facilities process data decommissioning for all electronics. Devices are completely wiped of any data during this process. Afterward, the facility examines the devices to determine if they can be reused or salvaged for parts. When devices are no longer usable, they are shredded to collect and reuse nonrenewable resources to produce new electronics or even to create coin currency, jewelry and wire.

This was last updated in April 2024

Continue Reading About e-cycling

Dig Deeper on Data center design and facilities

Cloud Computing
and ESG