Earth Day month gets us thinking differently about the way we do things

This April 22nd will mark the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day, which some might call an occasion we hope to one day remove from our calendars. Not to suggest, of course, that green living should ever come off our agendas; but what our continued observation of Earth Day shows us is that we still need an eco-friendly reminder when it comes to environmental responsibility and that the crisis and concern out of which Earth Day originated forty years ago still persists today.

Earth Day is largely about education: teaching people ways to help the environment and reminding people that doing a little bit every day can make a big difference over time. For those households and businesses that have already taken the initiative to do things differently; you might consider setting this Earth Day aside to think differently about the way you do things.

Recycling has become the norm among most households and businesses, and yet a lot of the specifics about recycling remain unknown: how equipment gets broken down, how materials get converted, how dangerous substances get handled and how exactly liability gets eliminated. Homeowners who recycle can acquire this information at their leisure, but businesses should not wait or hesitate to ask important questions about what it means exactly to reduce, reuse and recycle.

This Earth Day month, take a moment to Re-examine the 3Rs: ask the right questions, so that you can choose the right recycling solution for your business.

Some people refer to reusing and recycling as though they are the same thing when in fact, the life of a reused product takes a path distinctly separate from that of a recycled product. Let’s take electronic equipment as an example: reused electronics get passed along as is, intact for continued use. Recycled electronics get completely broken down so that their basic parts – scrubbed and separated – can get remanufactured into new products.

In some cases, reuse is the most appropriate form of recycling; but companies with concerns/priorities related to data security will want to make sure that the terms “recycle” and “reuse” correlate to separate processes and do not refer to one and the same thing. The recycling process inherently deals with issues related to data security by reducing electronic equipment to its base materials, which are then separated, shredded, melted, molded and ultimately manufactured into new consumer goods. Reuse continues the useful life of electronics as they are: unprocessed, untreated and undeleted.

Recycle or Reuse? Both have their advantages! But at the end of the day, knowing the difference means knowing what’s best for your business.