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Holidays are a time when we are giving and receiving a lot of new toys, including updated electronics.  Even though our 1st generation iPad is still working just perfectly the lure of the 2nd generation have caught our eyes and its out with the old and in with the new!   Each year millions of children’s toys are purchased for Christmas and a large percentage of these require batteries.  Typically these toys do not only require one battery but rather two, four, or even six.  The most popular toy for this year is expected to be Lets Rock Elmo which requires six batteries for operation.  Well, after countless hours of rocking with Elmo, he will need new batteries which will begin a large collection of out dated batteries!
What are the different kinds of batteries and what do I do with them?
There are 6 main types of batteries we come into contact with regularly:

  1. Alkaline batteries: these are the AA batteries we use in remote controls, childrens toys, and surprisingly there are no real harmful elements found in these batteries.  When these are brand new they deliver 1.5 volts and continuously drop down to below 1 volt throughout their lifespan. They were not originally designed to hold the higher charges required by todays electronics which is why many manufacturers have resorted to NiMH batteries.
  2. NiMH batteries (Nickel-metal Hydride): these have the same size and appearance of an alkaline battery but hold 1.2 volts throughout their entire lifespan.  These batteries can be charged and recharged multiple times.
  3. NiCad batteries (Nickel-Cadmium): these are older model rechargeable batteries that used to be the common battery for all portable devices but now are found in cheaper and older mobile phones.  They must be disposed of properly to prevent environmental harm and can be properly recycled by CompuCycle.  The toxic element in these batteries is the Cadmium metal.
  4. Lithium-ion batteries: the current and most popular battery for cellphones and laptops. They are more expensive but much lighter than a NiCad and have longer duration.
  5. Lead-acid: these are the oldest type of rechargeable batteries and those still used in cars.  We can accept these at our facility as long as no materials are leaking from the battery.
  6. Uninterruptible power supply batteries (UPS): these are large devices used by companies to ensure they do not lose power when the main power supply goes down in an emergency situation.

All of the above mentioned batteries can be dropped off at CompuCycle’s recycling facility free of charge, except if it is a lead-acid battery that is leaking fluids.  Please feel free to bring them by:
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Or if you are with a company that has large UPS batteries or any other materials call CompuCycle today to schedule a collection!

CompuCycle wants to wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season and Happy New Year! We look forward to e-cycling with you in 2012!

Didn’t have enough scares this Halloween?  Then give your old computers and electronics to just any old recycling company and cross your fingers they won’t tell all of your secrets!!

Data security is top priority to corporations; no one can afford the repercussions from letting their employees and customer’s confidential information slip through the cracks.  However, many corporations don’t even know where this information is within their own infrastructure and this makes it difficult to protect the privacy of consumers.

In 2010 a small non-profit health care provider in Bronx, New York returned one of their leased digital copiers to the leasing company unaware that these copiers have hard drives containing all information scanned on the machine.  For legal reasons, Affinity Health Plan was required to file a breach notification to all applicable regulators and notify all clients whose information may have been compromised.  Although there were not any leaks directly connected to this one copier, there were 409,262 individuals notified costing thousands of dollars and losing credibility with their customers.

Imagine if it was not only ONE copy machine but hundreds of computers that you decided to recycle being the environmentally friendly employee that you are.  If a ruthless recycling company got hold of those computers and did not keep their “promise” to destroy all data and hard drives on the machines, your company could forever be indebted to your employees and clients whose information was exposed.  How do you protect your client’s data and not harm the environment by tossing your retired electronics into landfills?

ASK YOUR RECYCLING COMPANY THEIR POLICIES ON DATA DESTRUCTION AND SEE PROOF FOR YOURSELF.  Unfortunately we are in a new generation where taking someone’s word is not good enough especially when 1 in 20 Americans are at risk for identity theft each year.   After making the wise decision to use a certified recycling company who is required to have rigorous data destruction plans implemented, then ask to see proof for yourself.  There is no harm in needing to know what is going to happen to your assets once they leave your facility.

CompuCycle offers our clients on-site data destruction with our new mobile shredder.  Our clients are very loyal and trusting however it puts them at ease seeing their hard drives go directly from the computer into the shredding machine making all data unrecoverable.  Some larger clients whom don’t have the time or resources to physically watch all memory being destroyed are invited to come tour our facility and become familiar with our processes.  Once they see we have three options of data destruction all meeting Department of Defense and NIST 800-88 standards, they become comfortable with sending their hard drives with us to be erased.

Don’t make yourself or your company’s assets vulnerable to a data breach.  Know what materials are leaving your facility, where they are going, and what is going to happen to them and ALWAYS USE AN R2 CERTIFIED RECYCLING COMPANY.

Since 1996 CompuCycle Inc. has been responsibly recycling retired electronics in the Spring Branch, Northwest Houston community.  We like to think of ourselves as “green….before it was cool.”  Today, we are excited to announce a new partnership with the City of Houston to expand our electronic recycling efforts and offer a free, green, service to Houstonians.  On September 26, 2011 CompuCycle became a City of Houston permanent electronic recycling drop-off facility accepting end-of-life electronics from residents throughout Northwest Houston.  The process is very simple, citizens arrive at our facility pulling into the circular drive behind our warehouse, CompuCycle personnel will un-load their vehicle and sort materials into like categories, and then they can drive right out. We want to make this process as easy as possible to ensure residents choose to responsibly recycle their old technologies instead of throw them in a landfill.  Also accepted for resident’s convenience are paper, plastics, and aluminum cans.  For those who live in other parts of Houston we will host once monthly electronic recycling collection events at already existing recycling drop-off sites.

“A huge amount of electronics are being disposed of improperly,” said City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “Here’s a convenient solution.  I urge Houstonians to help our environment by taking advantage of it.” 

CompuCycle was honored to host Mayor Annise Parker, Council Woman Brenda Stardig, City of Houston employees and media personnel for a tour of our recycling facility.  Participants were able to witness our on-site de-manufacturing and refurbishing process and learn about Responsible Recycling (R2) Certification which defines the protocols we adhere to.  Residents can rest-assured that their confidential data is being properly and securely handled and that their materials will NOT end up landfills.  As an R2 certified facility we are audited annually and required to have proper data erasure and destruction procedures.

We have already begun accepting end-of-life electronics at our facility and would love for you to come on by!  We are located at:
CompuCycle Inc.
7700 Kempwood Drive
Houston, Tx 77055
And accept electronics Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and Saturday from 9 am – 3 pm!
The schedule for the monthly collection events is below:

1st Saturday of the month: Kingwood Metro Transit Center
3210 West Lake Houston Parkway
Houston, Tx 77339

2nd Saturday of the month: Ellington/Clear Lake Recycling Center
Highway 3 @ Brantly Ave
Houston, Tx 77037

3rd Saturday of the month: Center Street Recycling Center
3602 Center Street
Houston, Tx 77007

Our first event will be October 8th and because this is the 2nd Saturday of the month the first collection will be held at Clear Lake Recycling Center and then the schedule will cycle normally in November.  We are very excited to host these events with the City and look forward to serving Houstonians by keeping their retired electronics out of landfills!

For more information see our story in the Houston Chronicle!

http://www.chron.com/default/article/Spring-Branch-site-opens-for-electronics-recycling-2190141.php

The CompuCycle Process

By now we have hopefully made it obvious that CompuCycle is an R2 Certified, EPA Accredited, responsible electronic recycling company and were the first to achieve this certification in Houston, Texas. Today I’d like to give you some insight information about the CompuCycle process and what really happens to your electronics after they are dropped off at our warehouse!

At CompuCycle we follow the R2 Practices Hierarchy of “Reuse, Recover, Dispose” so our first job once we have received the product is to determine if the materials are working while simultaneously assigning each product a Lot # so everything can be accounted for.

  1. As we begin to sort through the products, we sort the working from the non-working.  All of the products that are working and in good condition (between 2-3 years old and taken care of) start the refurbishing process which means they will be cleaned, data cleared, and resold.  This is the top of the recycling hierarchy “reuse”.
  2. Once the products arrive at their correct location, we remove all identifiable client tags off of the materials (company stickers or barcodes).  This is when the data destruction begins.  We have 2 methods of data destruction:
    1. Shredding- removing hard drives from the computers and physically destroying them.
    2. Data erasure- using Department of Defense Software to perform a 3-pass swipe of any data or confidential information stored on the hard drive.  We test the hard drives to ensure there is not data left on them however if any fail inspection they will be shredded.
    3. Once all information has been cleared we then place a CompuCycle barcode on the product and it is listed in our inventory and eventually sold.
  3. If the electronics are older and non-working they are taken to our recycling area of the warehouse to be de-manufactured.
    1. These hard-drives are shredded and the rest of the parts are sorted into like categories which include; plastics, coppers, scrap metals, and then of course the focus materials which consist of mercury found in LED monitors and battery components.
    2. After being sorted, the products then are taken to R2 approved downstream vendors such as plastic recycling companies, metal refining companies and copper smelters.

And THAT is how it’s done.  If you have any additional questions about our process or want to recycle old electronics do not hesitate to contact us at any of the following venues:

Email: info@compucycle.net

Phone:  713-869-6700

Website: http://www.CompuCycle.net

While technology continues to improve it consequently outdates the average computer faster than ever. In 2007 roughly 40 million computers became obsolete which has doubled since 1998 (cleanair.org).  Major electronic corporations have implemented sustainability practices and taken ownership of their own influence on the massive amounts of computers that are no longer up to par.  However, the green industry and eco-Americans throughout the country have been patiently awaiting our own government to step up and implement responsible e-waste recycling plan for their own electronics that contribute significantly to the e-waste problem.

On July 20, 2011 in Austin, Texas the White House Council on Environmental Quality, General Services Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency representatives met to discuss the future of Federal electronics. They were accompanied by the CEO’s of Sprint and Dell along with executives from Sony to reveal a National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship. 

The strategy addresses responsible electronic waste disposal in three areas,  the design of products, purchasing consumer electronics responsibly, and promoting research to find acceptable ways to recycle and reuse the materials within electronics. A major aspect of the proposal was to ensure that Federal electronics are processed by CERTIFIED recyclers so they can ensure their data is erased properly and the products are handled responsibly throughout the entire de-manufacturing process.  Educating individuals on the hazards of using an non-certified company is very important and having the Federal governments support makes this goal much more attainable.  Promoting certified American recycling companies also enhances U.S employment and stimulates the economy within our borders.

One issue that was not addressed by the task force is the exporting of hazardous materials overseas to third-world countries. While CompuCycle does not support the exporting of non-working materials overseas in any way we do however support international electronic trading of working electronics.

For more information on the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship please visit any of the following sites:

Environmental Protection Agency:

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/taskforce/docs/strategy.pdf

The Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allen-hershkowitz/administration-launches-j_b_906075.html

Old appliances, we all have them shoved in the back of hall-closets and collecting dust in the garage, but how are we supposed to get rid of them?  Hopefully the thought of tossing them in the trash and landfilling hazardous materials (like refrigerants and cooling chemicals stored in refrigerators) did not cross anyone’s mind!  CompuCycle can accept the smaller household appliances including microwaves, toaster ovens, blender, coffee pot, and if there are any questionable items you may have please do not hesitate to give us a call at 713-869-6700.

The truth is that there are not a lot of recycling venues that will take old vacuum cleaners or refrigerators because there is really not a lot they can do with the products once they are dismantled.  While the recycling company does not want to see the appliances be tossed out they also have to adhere to EPA regulations for handling hazardous materials found in freezers and other appliances.  Most eco-friendly websites suggest the following:

1. Try to fix the appliances by purchasing new individual parts instead of buying an entirely new system.

2. Contacting your neighborhood waste services or city waste department to learn about their recycling methods and pick-up dates for large household items

3. Attempt to re-sell the product at a garage sale or through a newspaper ad but be cautious because selling these to certain companies might result in them being stripped of useful products and then landfilled anyways.

4. Check the manufacturers website or call them directly to see what services they can offer to recycle their old products and possibly re-use some of the materials.

5. Donate to your favorite charity or non-profit organization!

If you need anymore information check out the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program website at: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/index.html

Also their information on the refrigerator disposal process: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/disposal/household.html#_Q:_What_are

Dear Facebook Friends, Bloggers and Tweets,

It is with great sadness that I am writing my last post as Marketing Manager of CompuCycle. It has been an amazing year for me. In the past year I have worked in position at a company that I passionate about,  I have made many new amazing friends and have found the love of my life.

Starting today, Lilly Robison, will be taking my place at CompuCycle. I can already tell that she has a heart of gold and will do amazing things at CompuCycle.  I hope that you will all welcome her with open arms as you did me. Thank you in advance, from all of us at CompuCycle, for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Julianna Watkins