I just started my new job as a digital marketer for 210Geeks less than two weeks ago. During my time here, I have been learning about the processes involved in running a computer buy back company. One thing that is certain about a business like this is it accumulates a lot of inventory, in this case, lots of computers and hardware. Part of the business we do involves recycling the electronic waste gathered from consumers. Hardware that otherwise would be thrown in a landfill is taken for proper recycling and sale of the metals inside. Today, I took my first trip to the scrapyard to gather firsthand knowledge on the recycling process. This is my experience.
The United States accumulates more electronic waste than any other country. Out of over 40 million tons of e-waste generated every year, only 12.5% of that waste is recycled properly. There is value in the metals of the items being recycled, but it’s less than you may think. There is a small amount of gold inside the motherboard of computers. The steel of computer casings is also exchanged on a weight basis. However, an average computer is only worth about three dollars each. For 210Geeks, it's a full two-day labor process for us to pick up the recycling material and break it down to be sold to the scrapyard. For this reason, the free recycling service we offer is to ensure the proper disposal of hazardous materials and that we are doing our part to contribute to a clean and healthy environment in San Antonio, more so than for profit.
All of the recycling material is picked up in our big blue flatbed truck. All of the items must be sorted through and separated to determine what has value. Upon entering the scrapyard, our truck was weighed to figure the exact amount of material we were bringing in. Having never been in a recycling warehouse environment, it was an interesting sight to see. Mountains of e-waste were stacked twenty feet in the air. Warehouse workers were moving quickly to separate all of the materials.
Our recycling crew emptied the contents from the back of the truck into shopping carts for each kind of computer part to be processed. Motherboards, steel casings, and hard drives were all separated into their respective carts. These carts were weighed by the scrapyard to determine their worth. Like I mentioned, we don’t take away much, if any, profit after the entire process is through. I imagine most people do not think too much about where their discarded items go when thrown away. For materials containing heavy metals, which encompasses nearly all electronic devices, there is a correct and incorrect way to dispose of them. Unfortunately, statistics show that most of these items are disposed of incorrectly. When e-waste ends up in landfills, the toxins within heavy metals cause irreversible harm to the environment. As a company that processes large amounts of electronics, we believe it’s our duty to the environment to give people the option to properly rid of their old electronics.
If you are looking to recycle your old computers or hardware, bring it by our location at 11503 Jones Maltsberger Rd. Suite 1139 San Antonio, TX 78216. For more information about what we do, visit our website at www.210geeks.com
Daniel McLaurin / Digital Marketing and Media