Computer Central, 537 E. National Avenue, has been collecting recyclable electronics known as e-waste.
E-waste is the name of old computers, monitors, hard copy devices, keyboards, mice, televisions and mobile devices that are no longer being used and need disposed of.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent e-waste report shows that Americans tossed out 2.4 million tons of e-waste in 2010, the latest year for which they have data. Americans trashed or recycled 142,000 computers and more than 416,000 mobile devices every day.
In 2009, Americans generated 3.19 million tons of e-waste. Of this amount, only 600,000 tons or 17.7 percent was recycled, according to the EPA. The rest was trashed -- in landfills or incinerators. Worldwide, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste is disposed each year.
Computer Central recently collected eight CRT (Catheter ray tube) monitors, 10 PC's, one printer and other materials to be picked up by E-Sponsible Recycling, a company that buys e-waste for a cheap price in order to recycle the materials.
"We break it down to its core components and sell them to big refineries," President Derek Davis said. "We are e-waste collectors."
When asked why it is better to recycle these materials, David Lewis, owner of Computer Central, said it is illegal to dispose of CRT monitors any other way.
"There are very valuable, recyclable and usable components inside computers," he said. "It is now worth the effort to recycle them."
Companies strip the materials for metals and rare earth materials to use for other purposes.
According to the EPA, "Experts estimate that recycling 1 million cell phones can recover about 50 pounds of gold, 550 pounds of silver, 20 pounds of palladium and more than 20,000 pounds of copper."
Compared to disposal, computer reuse creates 296 more jobs for every 10,000 tons of material disposed each year. According to the EPA, recycling metals from e-waste uses a fraction of the energy needed to mine new metals.
Because E-Sponsible Recycling pays such a small amount for the materials, Computer Central does not buy the electronics from citizens.
"We don't buy stuff, because we don't really get anything for it," Lewis said.
However, those looking to dispose of their old electronics may drop them off at Computer Central during 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on Friday or 10 a.m.-1 p.m., on Saturday.
Computer Central accepts computers including desktops and laptops, monitors (CRT and LCD), printers and print cartridges (inkjet, laser, copier), cell phones and iPads. Hard drives on computers must be cleaned or destroyed before recycling. The store cannot accept items containing biohazards, hazardous waste, liquids, smoke detectors, fluorescent bulbs, refrigerators or other large appliances.
For more information, contact Computer Central at 443-7825.