Ours is a consumption economy: we buy electrical equipment, building materials, appliances, toys and innumerable ephemeral knick knacks. When these items no longer serve their purpose — or just become passé — we throw them out. They are almost never re-used and rarely recycled.
Ideally, we should recycle everything. Household waste streams are mostly recycled, But old electronics are the worst: think about that drawer of circa 1990s cell phones, box of 3.5” floppy diskettes containing precious data, or pre IP office phone systems that can still power up but are worthless without a dial tone. Unfortunately, this old electronic equipment is usually just thrown in the dump, becoming what we now call “E-waste.” Efforts are in place to prevent old solar panels from also becoming E-waste. Theoretically, the glass, aluminum, silicon and copper in the panels are extremely recyclable. But because of the 25-year durability of solar panels, there are few efficient ways to recycle, or even re-use, old solar panels.
There are a few new companies that are addressing the growing need to re-use or recycle E-waste. My guest on this week’s show is Lou Ramondetta, President of Surplus Services. Lou has been in the industrial, electronic and medical equipment industry for over twenty years, and is now working to recycle or — better yet, find a home for working but old electronics equipment. To learn more about how companies like Surplus Services are helping companies and local municipalities reduce and even zero-out their E-waste streams through repurposing of electronic equipment, Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show.