Schoolcraft Township and Emerald eCycling are joining hands to help keep landfills free of the heavy metals found in electronic products. They will be receiving old electronic items for disposal or retrofitting at the township hall parking lot, on Saturday, October 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Emerald eCycling is a Kalamazoo company that updates and resells used computers with a warranty and collects all types of used electronics both broken and working. They accept old, no-longer used computers, cell phones, cables and cords, networking equipment, gaming equipment and any other electronics which are no longer needed. This is a joint recycling effort sponsored by the Township and Emerald but donors can come from anywhere in the area.
Emerald’s mission is to make electronics recycling easy and accessible, according to its founder, Susan Sonday.
“One of the ways we make recycling easy is by having events at community locations like Schoolcraft Township, so folks don’t have to travel far from home to get their recycling to us,” she said.
Emerald, which has been in business 14 months, had its first big collection at Schoolcraft Township in the fall of 2013.
“We are a very small player in the recycling industry, but are very proud that we processed over 50,000 pounds of electronics recycling in our first year,” said Sonday. “Most of that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, and it is instead being reused or recycled into new products here in the United States.”
Emerald also works with community non-profits to help them raise money through electronics recycling, she said, This year they’ve worked with the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement, several church groups and sports teams.
“We are a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, and we update and resell some of the computers we collect, which offers an affordable option to buying a new computer,” she said. “We also offer a data destruction/shredding service for computer hard drives, so consumers can be confident that their personal information won’t get into the wrong hands.”
The hard-drive shredding service will be offered at the Schoolcraft event for a fee of $10 per had drive.
The company doesn’t take televisions or smoke detectors, but a list of all the items they do accept is on their website at http://www.emerald-ecycling.com/equipment-accepted. Call 269-978-1914 if you have questions.
Sonday founded Emerald after several years spent traveling to design, market and sell electronic products in the automotive and consumer electronics industries, she said. Now, she is enjoying the flip side of the coin, focusing on electronics disposal and on the local community.
It’s a business that gets more challenging every day because of shrinking product sizes, increasing product turnover, and new technology introductions, she said. Cell phones are an example because a few years ago people kept their cell phones for over two years. Today they keep their smart phone around 18 months.
One of the reasons she says she enjoys this business is there are always new things to learn and new challenges to overcome.
“We evaluate everything we collect, and if it can be reused or repaired and then reused, we try to get it back out to someone who can use it,” she said.