E-waste refers to discarded electrical and electronic technologies, such as computers, laptops and tablets, printers and smart phones, whether or not they are in working order.
Because technology companies frequently release new products that are faster and offer increased functionality, you might equally frequently renew or upgrade your practice’s technology, and therefore generate a lot of e-waste. To reduce your environment impact:
- carefully assess whether you need to purchase the latest release
- identify appropriate ways of recycling and disposing of outdated electronic equipment (eg you could donate computers and phones and use companies that recycle components)
When recycling or disposing of technology, you must be diligent about protecting personal and health information by removing all patient and staff data. You will probably want to all confidential information about the practice (eg financial records, business plans) to be removed as well. Because ‘deleting’ information does not destroy it, and people with the right skills can still access the information, you should engage a company that specialises in destroying data.