Worcester company makes money via responsible e-waste recycling!
“The circuit boards found inside all electronics contain gold, silver, palladium and base metals such as copper and nickel. Their worth can range from $.50 to $15 or more per pound, depending on quality, said Chris Ryan, president of Worcester-based METech Recycling Inc., . The microprocessors inside circuit boards can go for $18 to $30 or more per pound, depending on quality, he said. Mr. Ryan said his company processes 10 million pounds a year of e-waste in Worcester alone; up to 10 percent of that is circuit boards.Metech provides free, annual e-waste collection days for Worcester businesses and residents; otherwise, people pay Metech to take their e-waste.“In the case of electronics recycling, I would say public awareness has been widespread only in the last five years,” Mr. Ryan said.”
By Lonnie Shekhtman, CORRESPONDENT
Posted Sep. 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM
As a result of rapid innovation and steadily declining prices of technology, most people find themselves with closets and garages full of televisions, computers and cellphones, some of them (probably most) barely a few years old. Commercial, manufacturing, government and nonprofit sectors generate even more outdated IT and data center equipment, printers, fax machines and other electronic waste. The collected pile of stuff is more popularly known as “e-waste.” Most of the millions of tons of e-waste generated in the U.S. ends up in a landfill or an incinerator.
Of the portion that people turn over to recyclers, 50 to 80 percent is smuggled into China, primarily to the town of Guiyu on the South China Sea, for cheap and unregulated disposal, according to Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network, an industry watchdog group credited with bringing this issue to light. Once there, workers in the informal recycling sector looking to make extra cash by extracting valuable components dismantle the electronics with bare hands, cook circuit boards to remove microchips and solders, and use dangerous acid baths to remove gold from the microchips, explained Mr. Puckett, whose organization uncovered in 2001 the illegal dumping of U.S. hazardous waste in Guiyu.
“Scientists have come in our wake and have found some of the highest levels of dioxin and carcinogenic chemicals ever found on Earth in Guiyu,” he said. “They found that 80 percent of the children there have (dangerously) elevated lead levels in their blood.”
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