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Planning for End of Life Electronics Protects Business' Bottom Line and the Environment #SmallBusinessWeek

New Report Highlights Potential Risk of Identity Theft, Corporate Liability and Environmental Harm (October 18, 2011)

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 10/18/11 --

Editors Note: There are two photos, three videos, and one business report associated with this press release.

Although they generate 66 per cent of all electronic waste across the province and have dramatically improved efforts to recycle since the launch of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) program in 2009, a recent report has found that Ontario's small and medium sized businesses could be doing a much better job at dealing with end of life PCs, smartphones, copiers, printers and other office equipment. Findings suggest companies are incurring unnecessary costs for storage and leaving sensitive information vulnerable to fraud, and should take advantage of province-wide efforts to recycle and reuse this equipment.

"As businesses continue to invest in technology that helps make us work faster and smarter, there is a growing need to ensure that they have a plan for the end of life of this technology," said Carol Hochu, Executive Director of OES. "Responsible recycling of e-waste is a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly and risk-averse alternative to storing old equipment or sending it to landfill."

Not properly disposing of end of life electronics poses liabilities for businesses large and small. Author and business strategist, Jim Harris, says a third of all North American PCs are disposed of with sensitive customer and corporate data.

"The threat of identity theft and fraud is too important to ignore. Last year alone, a staggering 11 million North Americans were affected at a cost of $54 billion to individuals and corporations," said Harris. "Today more than ever, protecting customer data is paramount to protecting corporate reputation and the bottom line."

Harris also notes that data sanitization is a key element reputable recyclers provide. The average data breach costs $214 per record - that means if a medium sized company disposes of a computer with data on 1,000 customers it will cost the company on average $214,000 in legal liabilities, and that does not include the reputational risk. The time is now to action a plan that addresses end of life technology management.

"OES-approved recyclers are required to use a variety of electro-magnetic and other proprietary techniques to ensure sensitive data is destroyed in the reuse or recycling process," explained Hochu. "I encourage business owners to make use of OES resources including our pick up service and our network of collectors and processors when developing an end of life recycling plan."

The report commissioned by OES includes a poll of more than 400 businesses across the province and across all sectors and was revealed to Ontario businesses via a roundtable web event this summer. Expert panelists at the event and an OES whitepaper concluded that recycling electronics at the end of life is a necessary and sound business practice for organizations regardless of size or industry because of the following:

-- Affects businesses' bottom line. By not storing retired technologies and more carefully planning technology investments, businesses are able to eliminate unnecessary costs. For example, if a business has a modest sized 200 square foot storage room where e-waste is stored, that can result in ongoing cost on a monthly basis. A business in an urban area paying $35 per square foot would incur an additional cost of $7,000 each month, and a total of $84,000 per year. -- Creates jobs. Seven jobs are created for every 1,000 tonnes of waste recycled in the province of Ontario, according to the Ministry of the Environment. -- Creates environmentally responsible organizations. This is increasingly becoming a deciding factor for consumers when making purchasing decisions.

To locate an OES-approved collection site or processor or to access information about developing an end of life electronics plan, businesses of all sizes are encouraged to visit

Expert commentary

"If one thing is clear, compromised private data can be costly for businesses. More than one third of PCs and 43 per cent of smart phones disposed of still hold sensitive corporate data, leaving businesses and their customers liable. Investing in a formal process to ensure business data is protected is well worth it, from both a financial and reputational perspective."

-Robert Johnson, CEO of National Association for Information Destruction (NAID)

"Electronic waste contains valuable metals, that can easily be recycled and some substances of concern that should be properly managed. Combined with the need to protect data privacy these factors create a compelling case for businesses to ensure all of their electronic waste is safely reused or recycled."

-Frances Edmonds, Director of Environmental Programs, HP Canada

"For businesses in Ontario, it is not only matter of corporate social responsibility, but it is good for business. A recent survey found that over 60 per cent of consumers prefer to purchase from environmentally responsible companies. Having a corporate track record of environmental responsibility can help provide a differentiator in a competitive market."

-Laurie Simmonds, President & CEO of Green Living Enterprises

About Ontario Electronic Stewardship

Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES), a not-for-profit industry organization, oversees the responsible reuse and recycling of waste electronics through a program that includes hundreds of collection sites and numerous other affiliate sites across the province, including municipal, retail, not-for-profit and commercial sites. Every Ontario resident and business is encouraged to safely recycle their electronics free of charge.

The program was developed with Waste Diversion Ontario on behalf of the Ontario government under the Waste Diversion Act. The OES electronic waste recycling program accepts 44 items of electronic waste including computers, televisions, DVD players, hand-held devices and more.

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To view the OES Business Paper Report, please visit the following link:

PROGRAM CONTACT: Ontario Electronics Stewardship
Sandra Pakosh

Michelle Lewis

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