Most workplaces use various kinds of office equipment, such as computers, printers, monitors, faxes, and copy machines. As new technologies develop, old but still usable equipment may be replaced with more modern models. Consider these ways to prevent usable electronic equipment from becoming waste:
- Lease equipment so that the manufacturer is responsible for repairs and disposal when the product becomes damaged or obsolete.
- Purchase high-quality, long-lasting products with good warranties that will provide years of service.
- Choose energy-efficient models labeled with the ENERGY STAR logo. (ENERGY STAR® is a partnership between USEPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.) Products with this label use less energy and reduce both energy costs and environmental impacts. Go to the Energy Star website for more information on how to purchase energy-efficient products. (See helpful links about energy for more information.) Local Law 119 of 2005 requires Agencies purchase energy efficient products; see purchasing standards for agencies.
- Enable Power Management Features. While electronic equipment may have energy efficient features (and have the Energy Star logo), these features may not be enabled. Check your manual to learn how to enable these features. Local Law 119 of 2005 requires City agencies to set all electronic equipment to achieve the highest energy savings possible.
- Choose less toxic models. Local Law 120 of 2005 limits the amount of toxicity within electronic devices purchased by City agencies. When purchasing new computers, look for models that meet EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) standards.
- Repair damaged equipment or upgrade outdated equipment rather than purchasing new equipment.
- Donate usable equipment. Before discarding equipment, City Agencies must follow the proper procedures for relinquishment of City property. Contact the DCAS Office of Surplus Activities to donate electronic equipment for reuse by other City Agencies or for resale as scrap.
- Recycle electronic equipment. NY State law requires all businesses and institutions in New York State to dispose of computer equipment through a contract, a manufacturer take-back program, or a recycling vendor if the equipment is not being donated or resold for reuse.
- Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and laptop computers contain rechargeable batteries, which must be recycled, according to NY State Law. When purchasing new batteries, arrange to have your vendor take back your old batteries. Alternatively, you can use the free Call2Recycle program established by battery manufacturers. In addition, you can make arrangements with a battery recycler; visit products and services for a list of battery recyclers. Businesses and institutions should visit battery tips for businesses and City Agencies should visit rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling for agencies.
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