In October 2022, University of Phoenix celebrated a major achievement in its sustainability efforts. Since contracting the technology solutions company ER2 in 2020 for sustainability guidance, the University has committed to disposing of electronic and technological device waste (e-waste).
By making this sustainability commitment, the University has diverted 1,080,918 pounds of landfill waste and made $58,412 worth of donated devices available to students to date.
The Growing Environmental Effects of E-Waste
E-waste comprises valuable materials that are recyclable (although they often aren’t) and toxic materials that can be hazardous to our health and environment. While valuable materials might include gold, silver, copper and iron, toxic materials may include mercury, lead and cadmium. The most common e-waste items include:
- Small equipment like vacuum cleaners, microwaves, kettles, fans, shavers, radios, toasters, hairdryers, toys and tools
- Large equipment like tumble dryers, washing machines, stoves, cookers and dishwashers
- Temperature exchange equipment like monitors, laptops, tablets, notebooks and televisions
- Small IT and telecoms equipment like cell phones and phone cases, GPS and pocket calculators and wireless routers
- Lamps, bulbs and LEDs
Because e-waste often isn’t disposed of sustainably, global e-waste and its negative environmental effects are increasing by approximately two million metric tons every year. The volume of e-waste has been rising every year since 2014. The correct way to dispose of e-waste is to drop it off at a recycling facility or electronic equipment.
In 2021 alone, e-waste generated 57.4 metric tons. So far, only 17.4 percent is known to be collected and properly recycled. As a result, there are now more than 347 million metric tons of e-waste on our planet, and the U.S. is the country that produces the second-highest volume of this kind of waste. In the U.S., only 15 percent of waste is recycled, compared to 57 Percent in the United Kingdom, 56 percent in France and 52 percent in Germany.
University of Phoenix’s Code of Ethics
In its Code of Ethics, University of Phoenix defines its commitment to sustainability, which involves efforts to:
- Prevent pollution
- Conserve energy and natural resources wherever possible
- Minimize waste, greenhouse gas emissions and the University’s carbon footprint
University of Phoenix’s Environmental Progress
University of Phoenix contracted ER2 to help implement regulatory, sustainability and service standards. ER2’s IT asset management and secure data destruction for IT assets enable the University to step up its sustainability initiatives.
The University’s Senior IT Director Claudiu Budurlean, MBA, explained that the Code of Ethics provides a “strong directive” for University staff to be “responsible environmental stewards.” With ER2’s help, the University has been able to meet its regulatory standards for secure disposal and reduce its environmental footprint.
ER2 monitors the University recycling program’s environmental progress. Since 2020, ER2 estimates that the University has:
- Diverted 1,080,918 pounds of landfill waste
- Diverted 10,645.91 pounds (approximately 4,828 kg) of toxins from landfill or dispersal
- Saved 125,040.63 pounds (approximately 56,717 kg) of metals by recycling e-waste
- Reduced 516,083.78 pounds (approximately 234,091 kg) of greenhouse gases in the production of a computer
- Saved 58,900.90 gallons (approximately 222,964 L) of water, also in the production of a computer
ER2’s Chief Experience Officer Emily Boser notes that part of the reason why University of Phoenix’s digital footprint has shifted is that many of its staff and faculty are now remote.
ER2 also calculates the value of the devices that University of Phoenix decommissions to collect technology dollars. The University can then donate equipment to students in need of devices like laptops so that these individuals can access online education.
So far, University of Phoenix has donated 204 devices to students, totaling at a value of over $58,000. The University has refurbished and donated these devices rather than sending them to a landfill.
Studying Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability initiatives aside, University of Phoenix also offers a range of courses, such as Environmental Sustainability and Issues in Environmental Sustainability, for individuals who wish to pursue careers related to this area.
Learn more about University of Phoenix’s sustainability mission.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is dedicated to progressing adult and nontraditional learners’ educational goals and supporting students as they navigate the career options and degree programs that meet their interests. Some degree programs correspond with in-demand career paths in fields like cybersecurity, nursing and business. University of Phoenix provides online classes, flexible start dates and plentiful scholarship opportunities so that anyone can earn the degree they desire. In addition, University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment supports active students and graduates with the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge, which include resume and interview support, career guidance, and education and networking opportunities. Learn more at: www.phoenix.edu.
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