Most commercial tenants do not realize the hazards associated with improper computer disposal and careless battery disposal until its too late.
For some time, throwing out electronics (e-waste) and batteries was simply "Out of Sight, Out of Mind." While this seems like the easy way out, consumers and companies should take warning when going through an office clean out or move. Disposing of used batteries or IT equipment like its regular trash is and will always be a compliance nightmare, not to mention, simply "wrong!" Why you may ask? Because data breaches and environmental health issues are not only at risk that could take years to resolve, but a company’s wallet and reputation could be faced with big fines and irreparable damage. Below are some of the various laws in effect, fines and charges a company could face if violated.
Regulations and Fines for the proper recycling of electronic waste and data destruction:
The Federal Trade Commission administers the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and compliance is mandatory. There are severe penalties for non-compliance: imprisonment for up to 5 years, steep fines or both. A financial institution can be fined up to $100,000 for each violation; officers and directors can be fined up to $10,000 for each violation.
Fair and Accurate Credit & Transaction Act (FACTA):
If large numbers are affected, a class action law suit may be brought forth to seek damages. For instance, if 1,000 consumers were affected, a class action lawsuit of $1,000,000 could be entered against the violating person or business. Punitive damages can also be awarded by courts in a class action or individual suit. Any successful plaintiff, or class of plaintiffs, is eligible to recover attorney’s fees. Federal Enforcements include penalties of $2,500 for each independent violation of FACTA and State Enforcement authorizes to recover up to $1,000 per violation. Statutory damages of up to $1,000 may also be ordered for each consumer affected by this violation of rule.
Regulations and Fines for Improper Battery Recycling
Rechargeable Battery Recycling Law:
The EPA may require compliance and/or assess a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the labeling, easy removability, and Title II requirements of the Act. Minimum assessment at $50 per violation
NY State Laws: (Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act):
Consumers who violate the provisions are subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):
- Non Compliance for each violation of subtitle C requirement: Up to $37,500 per day per each violation
- Violation of Compliance Orders: up to $37,500 per day per each violation
- Civil Penalty in violation of Subtitle C – Up to $37,500 per each violation. Each day constitutes a separate violation
- Interim Status Corrective Action Orders: Up to $37,500 per day of non compliance
- Compliance Orders who violates requirements under Subtitle I - Up to $37,500 per day of non compliance
- Knowing/Alteration/Destruction or Concealment of Records: 5 years imprisonment and/or $50,000 per violation. Penalties double for subsequent violations
- Knowing Endangerment: 15 years imprisonment and/or $250,000 or $1,000,000 if Organization.
Regulations and Fines for the improper recycling of Electronics and Data Destruction for Hospitals and Health Information Technology Centers:
- “Knowingly” disclose persons information: $50,000 and 1 year imprisonment
- Under False pretenses: $100,000 and 5 years imprisonment
- Intent to sell, gain or transfer: $250,000 and 10 years imprisonment
Avoiding the small cost now to responsibly recycle is a mistake that could tarnish your company's reputation that took years to build. So while the easy way out of disposing computers and batteries using a "free or cheap" junk lugger may seem like a win at the time, consider the costs if something goes wrong once. This small investment now will save you a fortune later. Not to mention the plenty of headlines in recent news to take warning from.
It is important to entrust your sensitive material with a recycler who is fully certified, in compliance with state and federal regulations and whose downstream vendors are as well.
MYBRS is a local service provider with it's facility located in Brooklyn NY registered with the NY State Dept. Of Environmental Conservation. Please contact us if we can help your firm with its recycling needs.
718.858.3600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The MYBRS Team