Electronics Amnesties are a different take on Weird Waste. Used electronics are a liability. They contain information you don’t want to escape. They contain hazardous substances. Many of them, particularly CRT and flat-screen monitors, TVs, laptops, and anything with a rechargeable battery, are regulated wastes. And like dust mites or cockroaches, they’re everywhere – you just can’t see them. Hiding in closets, behind desks, under work tables, stashed in storage rooms.
An Amnesty is a way to get rid of the junk and the liability. It’s like when the library lets you bring back your way overdue books without a fine. Tell your staff that for a period of days or weeks they can bring their old electronics to be recycled, and you’ll turn a blind eye to the fact that they’ve been sitting on these things for years.
We did this a few years ago with MIT, and the results were staggering – over 40 tons in two weeks. Granted, that was MIT, but the basic story is the same at almost every organization: electronics are a hidden liability. An Amnesty is a way to make it go away.