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ERI: Making Profit From E-waste

Ever wonder what you should be doing with your old computers, cell phones and televisions?  Bruce W. Fraser reveals the answer in the September 2010 issue of FA Green.  Ask Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), he says, the largest electronics recycler in the United States.

Fraser reports that John Shegerian founded ERI “to remedy the problem that arises from an unintended consequence of the technological revolution and the electronic waste crisis.”  E-waste, or discarded electronic equipment, is the fastest-growing solid waste stream in the world, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The amount of outdated or obsolete electronic equipment drastically increases every year.  In 2005, EPA estimated that between 26-37 million computers became obsolete. That’s computers alone! Not to mention TVs, VCRs, cell phones and monitors to name a few.  Often discarded electronics end up in landfills or get shipped illegally overseas, but not at ERI.  ERI states that they have the Highest Capacity and Most Technologically Advanced E-Waste Shredding System in the world  and that all material sent to ERI is 100% recycled into 3 main commodities: metals, plastic and glass.  They also pledge that no electronics are placed in landfills and nothing is illegally exported to other nations.

Shegerian’s slogan “Green is Good,” proves it is indeed by boasting about $50 million yearly in revenue and employing about 400 people.  While ERI plans on expanding to all 50 states along with the growth of e-waste legislation, it currently operates locations in Massachusetts, Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, California and Washington.

Don’t live in these states serviced by ERI but wondering what to do with your e-waste?  Check out this list of e-waste recycling resources compiled by the EPA.

Image Credit:  Curtis Palmer via Flickr under a CC license.

Written by Emily DeMasi

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.

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