Sunday, November 09, 2008

Choose socially-responsible e-cyclers (e-waste recyclers).

I've written about e-waste several times before, so I was pleased to see a piece on 60 Minutes about it tonight. Check out the video and the US Government Accountability Office Report on E-waste mentioned in the report.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Did that scare you? It should, because according to the EPA, people in the US discarded 47 million computers in 2005 (compared to 20 million in 1998). When you add in cell phones, TVs, VCRs and other electronic equipment, that means we throw away between 300 million and 400 million electronic items each year. Here's how to make sure yours old electronics are recycled responsibly:

* The e-Stewards Initiative maintains a list of responsible e-cyclers. Check it out to find one in your area.

* The International Association of Electronics Recyclers is the first and only trade association for e-cyclers. Their members adhere to voluntary socially responsible guidelines for recycling. Choose a member in your area.

We all want to do the right thing, so take the extra step to make sure you doing all the good you expect.

"The most important political office is that of the private citizen." - Louis Brandeis


Thos said...

Hi Karama -
Thos from here.
The segment on 60 Minutes last week has certainly raised awareness of the massive problem posed by improper disposal of e-waste.

Since the story aired we've had a few questions from folks about what we do with the electronics we buy.

Of course the first thing we do is promote reuse by directing things with consumer value into retail outlets like ebay or amazon.

When we do recycle, we use two primary partners: Recellular who is located in Dexter, MI and TechTurn out of Austin, TX.

Recellular states the following on their site:
"(We)Meet or exceed the requirements of applicable environmental law and regulation and other requirements to which we subscribe.

Certified smelters contracted nationwide help provide us with the optimum return for scrap products, and assure complete disposal of the material with little to zero impact on the environment. No E-waste goes to landfills or incinerators directly or through intermediaries. No electronic scrap is shipped to "underdeveloped countries". Our certified recycling partners are likewise prohibited from sending e-waste to any country not belonging to the European Union or the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). "

As for TechTurn, they say:

"The recycling of hazardous materials during the computer recycling process warrants special care and attention. TechTurn’s stringent quality and environmental standards meet or exceed those mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Plus, our zero landfill policy is in full compliance with EPA Disposal Regulations.

Our recycling processes are also certified by the International Association of Electronics Recyclers (IAER), the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and other leading recycling organizations."

We're proud to be working with such responsible partners.

Karama said...

I asked all the ecyclers I've written about to tell So What Can I Do readers about their recycling methods. So far only Gazelle has responded. Thank you, Thos. Hopefully we'll hear from the others soon. Click for the Recellular and TechTurn websites.