Q

How does your electronics disposal efficiency rate?

What are the variables involved in determining The Green Grid's electronics disposal efficiency metric? We give you the numbers.

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How does an organization measure electronics disposal efficiency? What are the different channels of e-waste, and do I really need to measure them?

Electronics disposal efficiency (EDE), The Green Grid's new metric, is expressed as the weight of equipment "responsibly" disposed of versus the total weight of disposed equipment. As an equation, it looks like this:

                EDE = Weight of equipment responsibly disposed of
               Total weight of equipment disposed of

This yields a ratio between 0.0 and 1.0 or a percentage if you multiply the ratio by 100. Basically, it measures how much of the equipment you discard is being reused, refurbished or recycled.

The one tricky word in this relationship is "responsibly." This means equipment that has reached its end of life and is subject to recycling or refurbishment (along with all its parts or components) is transferred to a third party that has been certified to establish electronics recycling standards.

There are numerous such certifications, including the Recycling Industry Operating Standard, Responsible Recycling, e-Stewards, SA8000, IDC's Green Recycling and Asset Disposal for the Enterprise and WEEE Label of Excellence, among others.

The numerator and denominator can break down even further. For example, the weight of equipment responsibly disposed of includes the weight of systems reused (put into secondary service elsewhere in the organization), the weight of components recovered and the weight of equipment recycled outright. The total weight of equipment disposed of includes the weight of systems reused, the weight of components reused, the weight of equipment recycled and the weight of equipment waste.

Breaking down equipment weights into categories allows organizations to monitor the individual categories that make up all of the displaced equipment. It is not necessary to track each individual category, but businesses can identify opportunities to improve their waste stream. For example, it might be possible to keep some components from waste to improve the ratio.

This was first published in May 2013

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