In time for Earth Day, we interviewed Raymond Tellez, vice president of Business and Community Based Contracts for Goodwill’s e-waste recycling program (e-cycling), who shared tips and information about E-waste Recycling and Caring for the Earth.
How large is Goodwill’s E-Waste Recycling program? Goodwill’s E-Waste recycling program serves communities throughout our 31,000 square mile territory of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. Our e-waste division currently staffs 75 highly trained employees – of who, 80% have disabilities.
What items does Goodwill accept as e-waste? Is it limited to computers? Not at all! Literally anything that has a plug or a battery – hairdryers, flashlights, kitchen appliances, etc. — is considered e-waste and by state law, must be properly recycled rather than simply thrown in the trash.
What happens to electronics that are recycled? Goodwill offers one of only a few e-waste recycling programs authorized by both the State of California and AAA certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). Which means we follow, and surpass, strict Department of Defense standards when it comes to destroying data (computer memories) and crushing computer hard drives. Other items may be rebuilt, or dismantled so the parts can be sold in Goodwill stores. Our goal is to prevent any e-waste or hazardous materials from ending up in a landfill and contaminating the earth.
What’s the best way for a company to start e-cycling? The first step is research. Find a company that’s certified by the State of California so you’re following the law and assured that your e-waste is being disposed of properly. When we work with companies, we typically spend time explaining what e-waste includes and how we can help. Then, we can recommend a contract based on the needs of the business. For some that may mean accommodate an annual purge (like when a company upgrades their computer or telephone systems); and for others, we may schedule regular monthly or quarterly pick-ups. We also help communities by helping them organize a neighborhood e-waste donation drive event.
What are some of the most common or uncommon items you’ve seen e-cycled? Printers are by far the most common items we receive; probably because they tend to cost less to upgrade. We also receive a number of older televisions with the cathode ray tubes (CRT) because the media has done a good job of informing the public those need to be disposed of properly. Some of the more unusual items have been ‘80s gaming systems and eight-track players – you don’t see many of those around anymore!
Why should companies choose Goodwill for their e-waste recycling? We’re accredited, we’re experienced, and we have a long history of safely disposing of e-waste. And, when you contract with Goodwill, you’re helping people in need from the local community train for and maintain employment.
Has working with the E-Waste department changed the way you think about recycling in any way? Yes. Now, if I walk by a trashcan and see a piece of paper inside, my first question is, “Why?” I’ve learned it’s everyone’s responsibility to help care for the earth. E-waste recycling with Goodwill isn’t just the lawful way to manage items, it’s how we can all help the planet and people.
Want to learn more? Visit http://www.goodwillsocal.org/green-services-recycling/e-waste or call 323.539.2113.