Article: Correcycling, Inc. has Refurbished Electronics for Sale in Grand Junction
By: Szamor Williams – #MeasuredWords – www.measuredwords.org
Image Courtesy of Milwaukee VA Medical Center: https://www.flickr.com/photos/milwaukeeva/44154954291/in/photostream/
Back in 1990 the United States took a huge first step towards managing e-waste by becoming a Basel Convention Signatory (Basel.int). The Basel Ban Amendment prohibits hazardous waste, from being exported by developed countries to other countries that are still developing. It is an effort to consciously manage and dispose of e-waste rather than just dumping it onto other countries. Although a signatory, the amendment was never ratified by the United States.
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It’s no secret that, for the United States, Asia (at one time China and now increasingly across South East Asia) and Africa (most notably Ghana) are the destinations of choice for domestic e-waste. The vast majority of e-waste goes on a journey, by sea, from the United States to these areas every year. Tom Risen, a staff writer for U.S. News, points out that the United States is the only nation in the developed world to have signed but not ratified the Basel Convention on hazardous waste, consequently allowing the United States to send its e-waste away rather than managing it responsibly.
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Rick Leblanc, a consultant in the realms of sustainable packaging, pallets, and supply chain and editor of Western Pallet Magazine, shares that “nearly 100% of e-waste is recyclable.” Despite this, about 80% of e-waste from the U.S. is sent to Asia. He also notes that since silver and gold are found in relatively high amounts in cell phones, “Americans throw away approximately $60 million worth of silver and gold per year.”
Image Courtesy of Curtis Palmer – COVER PHOTO for a UNESCO publication in South America: https://www.flickr.com/photos/techbirmingham/345897594/
When e-waste isn’t properly disposed of toxic materials can get into the ground and pollute the local water supply. Burning e-waste pollutes the air and releases highly poisonous fumes (Waste360.com). Elizabeth Flaherty provides a simple definition of e-waste as anything with a “cable cord or a battery.” In her article on familyhandyman.com she notes that “e-waste is the “fastest growing waste stream globally… due to both the shortened lifespan of our electronic devices and… demand for the newest high-tech products.”
Image Courtesy of Matthew Hurst: https://www.flickr.com/photos/skewgee/3160670483/
There are state laws across most of the United States that demand device makers pay annually for the recycling of a particular amount of e-waste. While this seems like a worthwhile endeavor that could potentially put a significant dent in the ever-growing e-waste problem, it isn’t enough to handle the issue at hand. According to the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) in addition to Washington D.C., there are only 25 states that currently have e-waste laws and Colorado is not among them. James Puckett, director of the Basel Action Network says that firms are not incentivized to dispose of e-waste responsibly. Manufacturers often pay independent recycling companies partnered with state programs very little. With the quotas being relatively low as well, it doesn’t take much for the state issued requirements to be met. Yet some estimates project that e-waste continues to grow in the United States by at least 8 percent each year. Ruediger Kuehr, head of the Sustainable Cycles Programme for the United Nations University, notes that manufacturers aren’t always concerned with making electronics easy to be recycled or fixed. Overall, that makes recycling e-waste far from easy.
Image Courtesy of Milwaukee VA Medical Center: https://www.flickr.com/photos/milwaukeeva/42346546350/
Making it difficult to recycle incentivizes companies and often individuals to just get rid of their old electronics in the most convenient way possible. Such methods are rarely positively impactful for the environment or community. According to Raki Computers, manufacturers are beginning to use fewer precious metals as they devise new ways to create ever better electronics. This, in turn is creating less incentive for responsible recycling practices. When a single device, such as a mobile phone, can hold dozens of different elements, but only trace amounts of them are valuable and re-usable, it becomes quite costly to go through the difficult and time-consuming process of properly disposing of those materials with companies receiving little return on investment. That e-waste despite (what some would call paltry) legislation is more likely to be dumped or exported than it is to be appropriately recycled.
Image Courtesy of Correcycling, Inc. Grand Junction: https://correcycling.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/06/CORRecycling-Inc.-Electronics-Recycling-Center.jpg
As an individual, there are a lot of benefits to recycling e-waste appropriately. While many recycling companies charge you a fee to recycle, some communities, like Grand Junction, Colorado can benefit from having an e-waste recycling company that actually pays for recyclables. Core Recycling, Inc pays $0.08 per pound for a long list of electronic items. On their website the litany of ewaste, they take covers a lot of different items that are commonly found at home like gaming systems, mobile phones, laptops, and computers. Looking back to Flaherty’s definition of e-waste, there are also some things that may not register as being able to be recycled that Core Recycling will gladly pay for. These include things like telecom or networking equipment, routers, and modems.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Smith: https://www.flickr.com/photos/byzantiumbooks/43134623174/
Regardless of where you live, if you are thinking about recycling your e-waste, here are three tips for how to do it safely and effectively.
- Delete any personal information.
A company like Core Recycling focuses on protecting both your personal information and the environment, but many companies may not take your information into consideration. It is important to be your own first line of defense by taking responsibility and wiping (not just deleting) hard drives and data from electronic devices. You can pay a company to do this or just download a program that will wipe the information for you.
- Be careful when handling older electronics like tube TVs.
E-waste can be extremely hazardous, especially if it has been derelict for a long period of time. A company that responsibly recycles e-waste like Core Recycling offers both drop-off and pickup services for businesses and residential neighborhoods. If you aren’t sure how to properly transport something, or even if you just don’t feel you have the time to take those unused electronics to the appropriate facility, scheduling a pickup can help you to do the right thing without inconveniencing your lifestyle.
- Call your local e-waste recycling center to find out what they will accept before showing up with a bag of disposables.
It’s always good to speak with a professional in order to stay informed. Knowing what a local e-waste recycler will accept can even help you to remember some of the items that you may have forgotten were stored somewhere in your home. It’s quite common for e-waste to be forgotten when it was dropped in a random drawer or put in a storage box months or even years ago. Core Recycling makes it easy to reach out to their expert staff with operating hours from 8:30 - 5:30 Monday through Friday and by even being open from 10 - 4 on Saturdays.