MAPS’ Green Initiatives
Going green is not just a choice, but a responsibility.
MAPS considers the preservation and conservation of the environment a social responsibility and has created and maintained strategic environmental policies which details our associated processes related to the materials that our business partners and customers entrust to MAPS. Our social responsibility commitment means that MAPS will:
- Securely destroy any information you have on your media no matter what form it is in.
- Reuse any salvageable items whenever possible. Reuse is the highest form of recycling; if the items can not be reused due to age, wear, or economic reasons, we break down the material to its raw components and recycle them.
- Ensure all recycling processes meet or exceed governmental regulations and minimizes the environmental impact as much as possible. No hazardous materials are sent outside the country. Approximately 97% of all material we receive is either reused or recycled.
MAPS regularly evaluates new technologies, procedures, and the processes of our partner organizations to ensure that we are utilizing the latest thinking in electronic waste disposal from a social, environmental, and compliance perspective. Strategic and sustainable partnership programs promote environmental and water conservation through responsible and accountable recycling applications for end-of-life cardboard, product shipping material, metal, aluminum, plastics, toner and ink.
We conduct our business activities and operate our facilities in such a way as to minimize environmental impacts and promote the welfare of our employees and customers. It is our practice to design and implement internal workflows to reduce our operating energy consumption and carbon footprint and help our customers create and maintain efficient energy and space infrastructures related to document output.
We Believe in Responsible Recycling
MAPS’s primary focus has been on the secure, audited disposal of private or proprietary information stored on electronic media. We recognize that many of our clients are leaders from a variety of vertical markets who rely on us to process their obsolete consumer products, break down the materials into paper and media, securely destroy all information, and recycle the resulting material.
But what does “secure and environmentally responsible” actually mean? Unfortunately, there is no recognized standard for responsible recycling. Some “recyclers” ship computer peripherals and output devices to China or third-world countries, not knowing whether those workers will be exposed to hazardous materials or if the shipments of material are just going to be dumped into landfill (which happens in many cases). Some “recyclers” or manufacturers that claim to “recycle” actually incinerate toner or ink cartridges (a very energy inefficient form of recycling), while others remanufacture the good ones and dump the bad ones into landfill. It has been estimated that global landfills collect approximately 525,000 tons of land filled plastic, steel, aluminum, rubber, foam and other components related to cartridges which take up to 450 years to decompose. Yet other recyclers, including MAPS, do the right thing ensuring all components are broken down into raw materials for their recycling into new products.
MAPS collects related material associated with its core business competency of document output devices , sorts the items into like materials, consolidates them into large loads, destroys any information on the media, preps products for reuse when possible, and recycles the rest so that the raw materials can be used to manufacture products of value.
Our process is broken down into four stages:
- Collection and transport
- Sortation and consolidation
- Reuse and recycling
We have determined that the most effective way to carry out all these functions is to partner with reputable organizations that accomplish these tasks as their primary course of business and have the same goals as MAPS – reuse if possible and responsibly recycle 100% of the remaining material. Partnering with certified organizations gives us the flexibility to adapt our offerings to the ever-changing needs of the marketplace while maintaining integrity throughout the process.
Each shipment (large or small) has a tracking number or authorization code provided by our partner organization which allows us to track the shipment throughout the process to ensure a fully audited transaction takes place for each transaction and device or material associated with the shipment.
Collection and transport. As a result of MAPS’s range of offerings, decommissioned material may be picked up and delivered to our processing facilities through a variety of carriers – the US Postal Service, FedEx, our own trucks, or through a client’s preferred shipper. In all cases, the focus is on offering a convenient method of pickup for the client. Whether a client is getting a truckload of decommissioned material picked up, or simply sending MAPS a box, the decommissioned material is always delivered to our facility(s). Our personnel follow the standard procedures developed by MAPS that ensure this material is handled, tracked, and processed properly.
Sortation and consolidation. All decommissioned material received is logged in and sorted. For example, toner and ink printer cartridges are placed in another container; cords and cables into another container; miscellaneous plastics in yet another, etc. Large material components and devices are placed in a separate area and sorted per the client’s predefined standards.
Reuse, Recycling & Manufacturing. Different materials require different processing and handling. This is why MAPS sorts the decommissioned material it receives and consolidates it into large batches of like material. In every case, we look first to recover items for reuse within such programs as are designed for material and peripheral equipment donation and client consignment. The donation programs benefit non-profit organizations and charities and consignment programs provide a process for our clients to recognize both economic and environmental benefits. Additionally, peripheral component items such as mechanical parts are often able to be refurbished in dedicated client inventory stock and reused for operational device repair in the client’s working environment and printer cartridges are remanufactured with Sustainable Forestry Initiative, ISO14001, ISO9001 and STMC product certifications. Most other items are recycled for the commodity materials they yield.
Because we accept large volumes of differentiating peripherals and media containing private or proprietary information, regardless of its recyclability, we occasionally encounter materials which we cannot recycle or reuse (less than 3%). In these cases, we dispose of the materials in as benign a manner as possible.
Secure destruction of information on electronic media
Identity theft, corporate espionage, and other crimes resulting from the theft of valuable information from media continue to be more common with the advancement of technology. Destroying information properly is absolutely critical, and simply deleting files from a hard drive does not do the job. MAPS destroys information in the following ways:
- CDs & DVDs are shredded. The resulting material is perfect for the subsequent recycling and remanufacturing process, and information is impossible to capture.
- Hard drives either go through a comprehensive wipe or drill destruction process. Our hard drive information wipe follows the Department of Defense high-level security wiping procedures (5220.22M) of writing over information using a pseudo-random data (or a combination of data specified) on a byte-by-byte basis at the machine level and is far more secure than simply reformatting the drive. Our process implements a 7-time wipe pass, comparative to the DOD’s compliance recommendation for either a 3-time or 7-time pass. If a wipe is not feasible, the hard drive is mechanically drilled through the entire disk drive penetrating every disk drive platter so it cannot be used again, and recycled to the raw materials of aluminum. This destruction process is undertaken whether the hard drive is standalone, in a computer, or in an associated peripheral such as a printer, copier or a multifunction device.
Note: MAPS provides reasonable security for the destruction of private and proprietary information. We effectively service healthcare facilities (under HIPAA regulations), telecom companies, law firms, banks, government agencies, and many other types of organizations that require secure destruction of their information. For highly-classified information or very proprietary information where an organization must eliminate any doubts of destruction, we recommend hiring a firm that goes onsite to destroy the media. If you choose to do this, we also recommend that you evaluate a vendor’s material disposition policies, as some will effectively destroy media at your site, but not recycle the end product.
- Media. In the case of CDs or DVDs, the shredded plastic is collected until we have a consolidated load required for a shipping container. The primary recycled applications for the polycarbonate materials are related to automotive parts, appliance components, and as a compounding base to make other plastics.
- Printer Cartridges. We collect and consolidate toner and ink cartridges. MAPS then remanufactures the toner and ink cartridges that warrant the integrity required for to achieve entire product lifecycle management processes for ISO14001 and ISO9001 certifications. Poor quality toner and ink cartridges that cannot be remanufactured are sent to a certified recycling partner’s facility in the U.S. The recycling facility utilizes a proprietary process to separate the toner and ink from the plastic in the cartridge enabling all plastics to be salvaged and recycled. Some hard-to-process mixed, end-of-life plastics, toner powder, drums, fuser kits, and inks are recycled into recycled product that is used for fences, garden edging, outdoor furniture, concrete, asphalt and other applications.
This information is accurate at the time of publication. As technology changes, new and better ways to recycle become available and are built into the MAPS process. As always, the short lifespan of technology also presents new challenges with respect to dealing with these new types of material and finding new markets for the reuse of such material. MAPS’s goal is to continue to improve our ability to provide convenient recycling for the consumer and maximize the reuse and recyclability of the material collected so as to dramatically reduce the amount of decommissioned material that goes in landfill.