EWaste Recycling

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Centre College ITS has recently partnered with Ecyclers USA to dispose of all eWaste created on campus. As an extension of that, ITS is willing to accept your personal electronic waste for proper disposal.

Contents

How do I dispose of something?

During Green Week, ITS will announce a drop off location and times a staff member will be available to accept your eWaste. Once that period has passed, you may contact the ITS offices at x5575 and schedule a time to drop off your eWaste. Scheduled times will, for the most part, be limited to Friday afternoons.

Accepted Items

The following items are accepted for proper recycling by Ecyclers USA:

  • Desktop and Laptop Computers
  • LCD and CRT monitors
  • TVs
  • Printers, Faxes, Scanners
  • CDs and magnetic tape units
  • Other approved electronics (Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPod, Etc)

Ecyclers USA does NOT accept appliances for recycling. This includes toasters, ovens, refrigerators, stoves/ranges, etc. They also do not accept batteries unless they are in a device that is being recycled.

How do I know my data is safe

Ecyclers USA ensures all data on accepted computers is destroyed following the strict specifications of the Department of Defense (DOD 5220.22-M). The Department of Defense standard is a 7 pass wipe, however most data will be irretrievable by all but the best data recovery services after 3 wipes. This type of wipe sets all bits on your hard drive to 0 (all data on a hard drive is made up of a series of 1s and 0s), then repeats the process 6 more times. This procedure is called a low level format. If a drive fails a wipe for any reason it is immediately sent to a device that shreds the hard drive.

Disposal Fees

As mentioned above, there is a minor fee associated with the handling and disposal of eWaste with Ecyclers USA. We are providing this service at cost. During Green Week the College will pay for disposal of employee electronics.

When viewing the table below, please keep in mind that the average laptop weights between 3-4lbs and the average desktop weighs 30-40lbs. Additionally most LCD televisions will be classified as a monitor; CRT televisions require special handling due to leaded glass.

Item Price
Computers and Laptops $0.15/lb
Monitors $8.00/ea
Imaging and Print Devices $0.18/lb
All other approved electronic equipment $0.20/lb
CD and Magnetic tape $0.12/lb
TV (19") $13.00/ea
TV (21") $14.00/ea
TV (23") $16.00/ea
TV (25" and larger) $20.00/ea
TV (Console) $50.00/ea
Projector $50.00/ea

Why pay for disposal?

Around 80% of e-waste given to recyclers is exported to developing nations like India, Nigeria, and China because processing the waste domestically is more expensive than selling it to overseas waste traders. Once exported, it ends up in backyard recycling operations where workers use crude and unsafe methods—like heating circuit boards over open fires—to extract metals that can then be resold. This is extremely harmful to the environment and the workers exposed to these chemicals. Electronics contain very toxic substances, including mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. When burned, these elements and compounds create dioxins and furans, some of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. Because many of these materials do not break down over time, they leach into groundwater supplies and accumulate in the food chain. Repeated exposure to these substances can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, and other health problems; in the Guiyu region of southern China, for example, 82% of small children tested were found to have clinical lead poisoning.

Exporting e-waste to developing countries is not just an environmental issue—it is a flagrant violation of basic human rights. Laborers in developing countries often have no choice but to work in the recycling industry and have little opportunity for economic mobility. The example of New Delhi, India is representative of many other cities in Asia and Africa that import e-waste. As a “hopeful” destination for India’s increasingly landless, rural population, New Delhi faces a massive supply of migrant labor as people try to find a livelihood working low-paying jobs. The recycling industry absorbs these migrants because the skills needed to work are few or nonexistent. The result is a workforce of over one million urban poor people who engage in e-waste handling. Because labor supply is greater than demand, workers endure terrible working conditions: one researcher notes that laborers in New Delhi toil 12 hours a day, seven hours a week in isolated recycling units. They sit on the ground, huddled around piles of electronics that they handle with bare hands and no masks. Common among these recycling units is “improper ventilation, excessive noise levels, and high heat.” This is not unlike the situation in the Guiyu region of China, where displaced farmers from surrounding provinces labor in the recycling industry for about US$ 1.50 per day.

E-waste follows the path of least resistance: to less regulated areas of the world where people have few alternative choices. The e-waste industry in these countries is a part of the informal economic sector and is not included in many economic indicators, including GDP. The illicit recycling industry distorts the job market by incentivizing dangerous and exploitative jobs over legitimate ones that are friendly to the environment and workers. Ultimately, exporting e-waste aggravates any efforts to move countries like India and China down a path of sustainable economic development.

Ecyclers USA is Located in Knoxville, TN and offers pick-up services in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. Ecyclers USA follows a stringent set of operational standards based on R2 Standards, e-Steward Standards, and other best practices to ensure the complete destruction of data and the responsible disposal and recycling of all materials entrusted to them. Ecyclers USA does not export—it manages all recycling at its foot facility in Knoxville. The company follows three steps when it receives electronics: it first tries to repurpose the unit. If that is not feasible, due to the condition or age of the equipment, it salvages individual parts. As a last resort, Ecyclers USA breaks down individual components and recycles them back into the manufacturing system.

The e-Stewards certification initiative is a project of the Basel Action Network (BAN), which is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization of the United States. BAN was founded in 1997 and was named after the Basel Convention, the UN treaty that restricts trade in hazardous wastes. Today, it is the world’s leading source of information about e-waste exporting and advocacy on “toxic trade and international hazardous waste treaties.” The e-Stewards program formally recognizes electronics recyclers that adhere to environmentally and socially responsible practices when recovering hazardous electronic materials. According to the e-Stewards website, “Recyclers must be certified by accredited, independent and specially trained e-Stewards certification bodies, via rigorous, on-site audits that are performed at least once a year.” It is the first such program endorsed by environmental organizations, including the US EPA, Greenpeace USA, and the Sierra Club.