26. AERC|Com-Cycle: Sustainable electronics recycling
Each year millions of computers, monitors, storage devices, printers, televisions, and other electronic items become obsolete in the eyes of businesses and consumers.
Processors are most frequently out-dated (by software) and are more likely to become "e-waste", while display units are most often replaced while working without repair attempts, due to changes in wealthy nation appetites for new display technology.
The EPA estimates that in 2009, the US generated nearly 3.2 million TONS of e-waste. But only 18% of that was collected for recycling. The other 82% went to landfills and incinerators, despite the fact that hazardous chemicals in them can leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams.
From 50 to 80% of e-waste that is collected for recycling is shipped overseas for dismantling.
Com-Cycle was conceived in 2001 by AERC Recycling Solutions to help service customers with electronics recycling needs. Com-Cycle began specializing in dismantling electronic devices to the commodity level which soon developed into repairing, refurbishing and remanufacturing Computers and other IT/ Data Center equipment. The first Com-Cycle facility began in Allentown, PA, now there are four facilities nationwide with plans for future growth.
Com-Cycle provides a safe, reliable and environmentally sound solution for businesses, consumers and government agencies as the need for ways to reuse, recycle or properly dispose of electronic equipment increases.
With Com-Cycle and AERC, all recycled electronics are responsibly dismantled and separated into various material streams. Nothing goes to landfill. Nothing is shipped overseas. All dismantled commodities are transferred to R2/RIOS approved processors and smelters for environmentally sound regeneration into raw materials for the use in new manufacturing.
R2/RIOS compliance is governed by Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations, ensuring the clients the very best in environmentally sound electronics recycling practices.
All certified Com-Cycle facilities are subject to inspection and potential audit by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State Departments of Environmental Protection on a scheduled and unscheduled basis.Com-Cycle has a fully transparent downstream Risk Management Program in place.
Recycling raw materials from end-of-life electronics is the most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem. Most electronic devices contain a variety of materials, including metals that can be recovered for future uses. By dismantling and providing reuse possibilities, intact natural resources are conserved and air and water pollution caused by hazardous disposal is avoided. Additionally, recycling reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of new products.
Some computer components can be reused in assembling new computer products, while others are reduced to metals that can be reused in applications as varied as construction, flatware, and jewelry.
Why it should be recognized:
AERC|COM-Cycle is addressing and eliminating two huge and growing environmental problems.
1.) The waste of natural resources and the energy needed to mine and produce those resources.
Computers and other discarded electronics contain valuable and highly recyclable and reusable
components whose economic value is lost when landfilled or incinerated.
Many televisions, computers, computer monitors, mobile phones and other electronics are still in good working condition and can be recycled, refurbished or donated.
2.) Electronics waste contains hazardous substances and if not properly recycled can cause damage to the environment and humans.
Landfilling and incineration pose potential risks to the environment and public health through leachate disposal and land spreading or air emissions. Most electronics contain some level of potentially toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium. These substances have been shown to cause a number of problems in humans and animals.These metals and toxic chemicals could pollute groundwater, surface water or the air if electronics are illegally dumped or burned. They may also be released into the air if burned in a municipal or waste-toenergy incinerator. If buried in landfills, the pollutants can get into the soil or water when landfill leachate is collected for treatment and the residual effluents are released into surface waters or spread on land.