4THBIN: Sustainable E-Recycling

Electronic waste (or simply e-waste) is an issue not mentioned enough when discussing major global problems, especially climate change. However, it accounts for a sizable chunk of Earth’s landfill, and when not recycled properly, it can release toxic chemicals into the environment. Only about 12% of this waste is collected and properly disposed of, and much of it goes overseas to third-world countries or to our own landfills rather than being safely recycled. If we don’t dispose of data-storing electronics securely, they leave their old owners’ data vulnerable to theft and misuse. To combat these issues, the non-profit organization 4THBIN has committed itself over the last two decades to the proper disposal of electronics through effective eco-friendly and data-secure methods.

Origins

4THBIN was founded in 2009 by current CEO John Kirsch, who was working for Greenpeace, an independent, international global campaigning network focused on protecting the environment. A client had wanted an eco-conscious and secure method of disposing of their electronics, but such processes were neither properly established nor enforced in the early 2000s. Many electronic disposal companies did not verify where their tech waste went and whether they properly destroyed customer data, and consumers might as well have been throwing their electronics into general landfill. Because of the lack of regulation and general understanding of the consequences of e-waste, Kirsch founded 4THBIN in 2009 to address proper e-recycling and technology disposal. They had started off in The Bronx, New York, with a local company, where they would pick up used electronics to dispose of properly. Today, they have grown to serve thousands of companies, ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies, who want to keep their data secure while still prioritizing eco-friendliness.

Services

Over their 12 years of doing business, 4THBIN has expanded their services to a variety of options for clients. For example, they differentiate their operations based on the field the particular equipment is from, as there are different ways to decommission them to ensure safety of their data. They have MedTech Recycling to specifically deal with hospital equipment, such as X-ray machines and MRIs, due to the various hazardous materials involved when trying to handle them. Also, since hospital equipment deals with patients, their data must be thoroughly destroyed to protect their information from potential fraud or theft.

4THBIN has been very flexible with their services in the last few years. They cater to the needs of their individual companies based on their variety of certifications, allowing them to deal with a plethora of problems. To expand their domain and help with the convenience of their customers’ needs, they have released their SmartBin technology and RemoteReturn to offer data storage for their customers online. SmartBin offers efficient online arrangements for e-waste pickup and moving to different locations and sustainable in-person storage, while RemoteReturn helps with the budget management and e-recycling of equipment for remote businesses.

Crypto’s Environmental Impact

Over their 12 years of doing business, 4THBIN has expanded their services to a variety of options for clients. For example, they differentiate their operations based on the field the particular equipment is from, as there are different ways to decommission them to ensure safety of their data. They have MedTech Recycling to specifically deal with hospital equipment, such as X-ray machines and MRIs, due to the various hazardous materials involved when trying to handle them. Also, since hospital equipment deals with patients, their data must be thoroughly destroyed to protect their information from potential fraud or theft.

4THBIN has been very flexible with their services in the last few years. They cater to the needs of their individual companies based on their variety of certifications, allowing them to deal with a plethora of problems. To expand their domain and help with the convenience of their customers’ needs, they have released their SmartBin technology and RemoteReturn to offer data storage for their customers online. SmartBin offers efficient online arrangements for e-waste pickup and moving to different locations and sustainable in-person storage, while RemoteReturn helps with the budget management and e-recycling of equipment for remote businesses.

Education on E-Recycling

Besides working with companies to protect their data from potential breaches, 4THBIN has also emphasized educating the public on this often overlooked problem of organized events and projects around the world. For example, “4THBIN 4GOOD” is a program in which 4THBIN partners with organizations, such as The Parish School in Guatemala and the United Association for Life’s educational programs for disabled students, to help provide high-quality laptops and other technology to orphans. In addition, 4THBIN has also partnered with Sundance in Africa in the past to further spread awareness of e-recycling and the risks with e-waste. While the coronavirus pandemic has hindered many of their efforts, 4THBIN has several plans to continue to expand programs dedicated to education and aid to impoverished communities and people groups around the world.

4THBIN explained that their focus on e-waste education comes from the fact that they are a benefit corporation, where helping the public and being trustworthy is crucial to the legitimacy of their mission. Because of their commitment to societal improvement, 4THBIN is not resource rich and, as a result, cannot expand to a size necessary to support mass-scale e-waste disposal. Because of this resource limitation and their high demand to collaborate or fund every project workable to them, they have to pick and choose their partnerships and projects to focus on. For example, 4THBIN has recently partnered with local artists to donate waste as interesting material for their artwork. They have prioritized success over the numbers, as they have had zero data breaches while working with thousands of clients over the past decade. Their excellence and trust in the e-recycling and data decommissioning fields has contributed to them receiving loads of certifications, such as e-Stewards®, EcoVadis, and NAID AAA Certification®.

4THBIN’s commitment to quality and improvement of the global community should serve as a model for other companies in a world increasingly ravaged by climate change, wealth disparity, and technological inequity.