This blog post was written by LFA Sustainability intern, Sarah Moratto.Ever wonder what to do with your electronic waste? eGreen IT Solutions is here to help. This local company based in Phoenix offers computer and electronic recycling for businesses and residents throughout the state. Curious and excited to learn more about their operations, Local First Arizona went to their offices and interviewed the founder and president of the company, Karin Harris.
What inspired E-Green IT Solutions? Karin has always been an IT geek; she loved electrical work to the point that she rewired her entire house in her youth. She has held a variety of jobs in the tech and IT industry and post September 11th, became very knowledgeable of the issues concerning data and information security. After learning about the complex problems surrounding electronic waste (E-waste), she found that the industry was fraught with security problems and had devastating impacts on the third world countries that the waste was being exported to.
eGreen IT Solutions was started to provide solutions to these problems. Karin and her team of eleven people, including her two sons, work hard to safely and securely recycle E-waste by destroying sensitive data while preventing it from being exported to areas that do not recycle in a manner that protects the people doing the work and the environment.
Why is it important to send E-waste to a recycler vs. the landfill? The increasing amount of electronic waste we are generating is creating a variety of both environmental and social problems. Many electronics contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and arsenic that can leach out into the soil and contaminate water systems. There are serious problems happening as well with the exportation of E-waste to developing countries like Ghana and China where people burn the electronics to extract the precious metals inside in order to make a living. The inhalation of the toxic fumes has lead to a series of negative health impacts of which children are especially vulnerable. There is also the important issue of information security and having personal information possibly ending up in the wrong hands. To find out more about the issue of electronic waste, check out the video below.
How does eGreen IT Solutions guarantee that personal information on computers, phones etc. does not end up in the wrong hands? eGreen IT Solutions is ISO Certified, which ensures certain standards of quality management in secure data destruction and electronics recycling. The company utilizes Department of Defense licensed software to remove data from hard drives for secured data destruction.
What happens with items that can be repaired? Reusing electronics not only keeps them out of the landfill, it conserves materials that would be used making new products. Materials are sorted when they arrive at eGreen IT, with items that are in good shape and/or have new technology being repaired. These items are sold online through their EBay store, with funds going to support eGreen IT’s work.
How much E-waste ends up in the landfill and how much has eGreen IT Solutions been able to divert? E-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. Statistics from 2010 show that 20 to 50 million metric tons of E-waste are disposed worldwide every year. Last year eGreen IT put 28,000 pounds back into production, but they want to see that number increase.
What types of items does eGreen IT Solutions take & what isn’t accepted? Most electronic items can be recycled with eGreen IT Solutions at no cost including batteries, computers, phones, wires, cameras and televisions. Older CRT televisions (large monitors) are also recyclable with eGreen IT but there is a charge. For a full list of items they accept, click here.
How can businesses and individuals get their items eGreen IT Solutions? E-waste can be dropped off at the Phoenix location or at Household Hazardous Waste events that are set up through the cities and municipalities across the state in partnership with Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Cities that are currently working with eGreen IT include Flagstaff, Nogales, Payson, Phoenix, San Luis, Sedona, Superior, Tucson and Show Low. Waste can also be shipped to them and pick ups can be accommodated in certain areas.
What other things does eGreen It do to be environmentally conscious? They recycles items like cans, plastic bottles and paper. They use silverware instead of plastic ware. Office materials come from what customers give them and they have not had to buy paper since they started the business in 2009. The furniture and electronics they use in their office are recycled products. Employees are encouraged to bring in their electronic recyclables from home.
Final words from Karin to individuals and businesses in regards to diverting E-waste: “If we do not focus on diverting E-waste, our landfills will run out of land to bury this techno-trash, not to mention all the pollutants that are continuously seeping into our water system and soil. It takes only a little effort to be responsible to our environment and the world we live in.”
Have more questions or interested in recycling some of your old electronics? Visit the company website: www.egreenitsolutions.com