Recycling Fax Machines and Other E-waste Becomes Priority for Zilker Ventures

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As more people discover the hazards of electronic waste, they aren't also finding many viable recycling solutions. For instance, what should one do with a broken fax machine? Zilker Ventures explains.

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A few years ago I wouldn't have given a second thought to the plethora of fax machines [in offices everywhere], but as people have moved online, past the limitations of traditional fax machines, I realized that something has to be done about leftover junk

Zilker Ventures has proclaimed the death of the fax machine and promoted Internet fax as a more cost-efficient alternative to traditional fax communications. Now inspired by recent e-waste recycling efforts of Dell and other major companies, the company wants to ensure that offices everywhere don't just bury their departed, but rather, dispose of fax machines properly.

Almost four years ago, Singapore-based Citiraya Industries, Ltd. opened one of their first American e-waste processing facilities in Rock Rock, Texas. Since then, however, e-waste recycling has been very much under the radar, even for Austinites.    

"That fax machine doesn't actually work, but we don't really have space to put it elsewhere," said CEO of Zilker Ventures, Gaines Kilpatrick, pointing to one of two fax machines sitting in his office, a pre-Internet fax relic.        

Many people find themselves in similar situations after their electronics break down or become obsolete and often store unused electronics in their homes or offices. Some simply throw these electronics in the garbage.

"I have an old computer in my house that I don't use, but I haven't given it away or recycled it because there are still files stored on it [that I don't want others to access]," says Koby Wong, an intern at Zilker Ventures.

The electronics that do get recycled are usually sent abroad where workers are paid low wages to strip recyclable materials from unrecyclable, hazardous toxins, according to a special e-waste report done by USA Today.

Why aren't more people doing anything about the problem? "I know I should recycle [electronics], I guess I just don't know how to properly dispose of them," says Wong.

What should one do with static e-waste at home or in the office? Experts say that people should attempt to send it back to the brand or to resellers for possible refurbishment, or take it to a certified recycler. They also suggest checking that voluntary e-waste recycle programs are certified and do not actually continue to send the waste to developing nations.

Though recycling e-waste in many communities remains largely unorganized, businesses that offer virtual services, such as online fax services or hosted PBX services, which eliminate hardware, have found ways to reduce e-waste.

"The easiest, most cost-effective thing to do is to stop buying new electronics when possible, advises Gaines Kilpatrick. "Telecommunications is a good place to start: Don't buy new fax machines or phones, and use Internet fax and virtual private branch exchange (PBX) services. From a business standpoint, it's cheaper; from an environmental standpoint, it's the right thing to do."

According to the USA Today special report, Best Buy, Dell and Sony are among the few companies willing to take back non-functional products from customers for free. Other brands have yet to institute a take back policy or systematized method of recycling electronic waste.

"A few years ago I wouldn't have given a second thought to the plethora of fax machines [in offices everywhere], but as people have moved online, past the limitations of traditional fax machines, I realized that something has to be done about leftover junk," says Kilpatrick. "People (myself included) should know they're not obliged to let their old fax machines and other electronic hardware simply pile up."    
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For additional information regarding the virtual office or Zilker Ventures, please visit our online fax website.

Zilker Ventures, LLC is a web publisher that consolidates information and reviews various business and financial products.

Contact:

Jennifer Silva
Zilker Ventures, LLC
(512) 448-9031

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