It was a radical concept - convince manufacturers to pay for their own products to be recycled.
But in the last five years, the Washington state e-cycling program has kept 200 million pounds of electronics out of the dump
"We collect approximately 125 items per hour from each collector at 330 sites across the state,” said John Friedrick, Exec. Dir., Wa. Materials & Management
One of those sites is e-cycling pioneer Re-Pc in Seattle.
Re-PC had been doing this kind of work for 15 years BEFORE the E-Cycling program was even born. It’s where old electronics, and the people who fix them, go on to bigger and better things.
"I used to say it's like a teaching hospital because people learn things, they learn a lot get exposed to a lot of different technology and then go on to other careers in the technological field,” said
Workers like Armando Juarez are learning a trade and can't believe some of the things people throw away.
"It amazes me because some of this stuff just requires you to press a reset button or plug it the right way,” he said.
A few minor adjustments and those products are good to go and must be sold soon to make room for an endless stream of incoming discards.
Just think of all the leftovers – it’s an industry that moves with lightning speed. Phones and pads are gradually pushing aside laptops and PCs, just like they pushed aside the six foot tall database machine that looks like it came from mission control.
And because your favorite PC or laptop will look just as silly someday, e-cyling will be around for a long time.