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Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

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!

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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

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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

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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

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Recently H.R. 2284, The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011 was reintroduced  by Rep. Gene Green (TX-29) and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-01) to prohibit the exportation of some electronics whose improper disposal may create environmental, health, or national security risks.

At CompuCycle, we support the continued growth of e-waste legislation. It is our sincerest hope that in the near future every recycler will have to responsibly recycle every piece of equipment, that no electronics will be allowed in a landfill and every person will understand the impact of irresponsible recycling on our planet and future generations.

To learn more about The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011, visit the links below.

ISRI Works to Ensure Safe and Responsible Electronics Recycling

Reps. Green and Thompson Introduce Electronic Waste Recycling Bill

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Recently Gov. Rick Perry signed the TV TakeBack Recycling bill into law.  The new Texas law requires television manufacturers to take back and recycle old sets in an effort to keep toxic materials including lead and mercury out of landfills and water.

An estimated 25 million TVs are disposed of each year in the U.S., according to the Stacy Guidry, program director for the Texas Campaign for the Environment, an Austin-based statewide organization focused on recycling and trash issues. Old-style cathode ray tube TVs contain several pounds of lead, while most new flat-screen TVs contain mercury bulbs, she said.

Here at CompuCycle we are elated to finally have laws that enforces the ideology we have maintained all along, that electronics do not belong in landfills, especially TVs.  We look forward to seeing legislation to come that requires responsible recycling of all electronics.

To read more about What Texas’ new television recycling law means for consumers, click here

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Volunteers at e-cycling drive

Volunteers from 2011 KTRK ABC13 Houston Earth Day E-cycling Drive unload the last car.

Now that I’ve made it through my first Earth Day (more like month) while employed by CompuCycle, I think I’m ready to tackle tips on how to host a successful e-cycling drive. There’s no exact science and your results will always vary based on several factors. None the less, my first tip is what seems like the most obvious, but is often the tip least followed.

 

Contract with a Certified Electronics Recycler

Before you decide you want to provide a service to your employees, tenants, community or whoever you want to help recycle their electronics, make sure you have a safe and eco-friendly outlet to do so.  Many “recycling” companies will offer free recycling, but make sure you do your homework on the company before you hand over your hard drives and e-waste.

As I mentioned in the last blog, unless you are using a Certified Electronics Recycler (R2 or E-steward Certified) there is no guarantee that your electronics are being disposed of properly and sensitive information is safe. 

 

Find a venue that is suitable

If you plan on doing a one-day e-cycling drive, choose an outdoor area where recyclers can easily pull-up and unload. Typically recyclers are asked to not get out of the car and workers or volunteers will unload the vehicle for them, allowing for fast and easy drop off.  Shade is always also a plus for workers and volunteers to escape the sun.

If you plan on doing a multiple day e-cycling drive, choose a centrally located area that is big enough for at least 1 gaylord box for collection of electronics.  CompuCycle would drop off the box(s) prior to the event and would pick them up at the host’s instruction.

 

Know the extent of your resources

Determine beforehand how much labor the recycling company will provide and how many volunteers you will have. The more organized your event is, the more successful your event will be. You want your recyclers to want to bring their electronics next year and spread the word to friends and family.  Word of mouth should be one of your top referrals. 

 

Anchor your event with other events or times when recycling interest at its highest

Obviously in April, around Earth Day, is when recycling is at the top of everyone’s agenda. The Earth Day buzz is  a great way to help create awareness of your e-cycling drive.  Other times to anchor your event to are: America Recycles Day (Nov. 20th), right after New Years (Give us all the electronics you just replaced at Christmas!), Spring Cleaning (Clean the old electronics out of your closet!)

 

Set a time that is convenient for your audience

It’s always important to keep in mind your audience.  If it’s your employees or tenants, a weekday recycling drive would probably be the most successful option. Really, who wants to drop by work on a Saturday? If it’s members of your community, a Saturday collection is most convenient for those that have 9-5 jobs. 

 

Consider extending your drive

Instead of a one-day drive, consider offering a week-long collection event in a central area, if you have one available. This is will allow recyclers a chance to bring more electronics and will allow more to participate. 

 

Be clear as to what items are accepted and how many items can be brought

The last thing you want to encounter on your drive day is frustrated recyclers.  Who wouldn’t be frustrated after you loaded up your 60″ Monster Big Screen TV only to find out the drive you are dropping off at does not accept TVs over 36″. 

Make sure to mention in all media if there is a limit on the number of items and the items that are not acceptable, such as appliances (microwaves, refrigerators and so on).  

 

Advertise

The most important step is to of course make sure your audience knows the event is happening! How do you let them know, you say? There are many avenues to reach your audience in this day and time. Some effective outlets are: Flyers, Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.), Newsletters (digital and print), Emails (Your own, that’s right, send some emails!), Newspapers, Blogs and Word of Mouth (Tell some people!).   

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