The Retrofit Companies Blog

Corporations Step Up to Support Community Ewaste Recycling Collections

Community Recycling Collection Event in Warroad.png

 

In northern Minnesota, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border, is the town of Warroad. This unassuming small town is home to Marvin Windows and Doors, the world’s largest manufacturer of made-to-order wood window and door products. While the town has a population just under two thousand people, the business employs more than 5,200 people at their ten nationwide locations. The company has been recognized widely for its ethical and responsible practices and was named The Most Ethical Large Company in America in 2014. At the core of their values you find environmental stewardship activities ranging from conservation, sustainability programs, and recycling efforts.

Given its rural location and the fact that it is a community anchor, there is something distinctive about the location of the headquarters and their sense of community in the workplace. As I learned about the company, this fact shone through and continued to when I interviewed Wayne Pearson. Wayne is a Waste Management Supervisor, and we met to talk about a program that was founded at Marvin Windows and Doors to help alleviate a recycling issue he noticed as a result of the town’s somewhat remote location and lack of recycling outlets. The company has a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and Pearson was in a unique position to address this lack-of-recycling problem in a way that perhaps others may not have been able to do. He understood the importance of recycling, and naturally he felt the same importance applied to individuals, as well. He explains, “Up here, we’re so far away from any recycling markets, and the employees needed these services. We did not have the avenues to recycle electronics and glass like more populated areas.” He suggested the company hold a recycling event specifically for employees, sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors. “The company is proactive. It’s very evident with programs like this. They supported the idea and the financial aspects of it, too. They are the ones that get this. Their support to the employees is tremendous.”

The first ewaste recycling collection event was held in 2012 with great success. Just over 23,000 pounds of electronics were recycled; all of these items brought to the collection by employees at the headquarters location! In 2013 the event peaked at 25,477 pounds of electronics, plus another 10,552 pounds of appliances. By 2014, Pearson was seeing the amount of waste drop: roughly 18,000 pounds of electronics and 4,000 pounds of appliances were recycled at that event. In 2015, another drop to 15,573 pounds of electronics, but with the most recent event in October 2016, something surprising happened – the collection event generated just over 19,000 pounds of electronics. “I’m not sure what to say on the 2016 results, I’m a little bit disappointed. I’d rather have it continue to decline! Word is getting out there more, and I know there are a certain amount of new people taking advantage of the program,” Pearson said.

Wayne and I talked a bit about the growth and future of the program, and the support offered by Marvin Windows and Doors. “The first two years, when we started the electronics recycling program, there was no charge to anyone to do this because the commodity markets for recycling were great. We had an appliance recycling event, too. The markets were so good that there was no cost to the company. Now the last three years, the markets have declined and we have lost some of our recycling avenues,” he says, referring to another program in the county that recycled glass, but ended up leaving the market and leaving residents with no glass recycling option. Parenthetically, Marvin Windows and Doors now offers a glass recycling program to its employees since the county doesn’t offer that type of recycling program anymore.

“The local transfer station will take [electronic] items, but they charge $5 a piece for them. We’re offering these services to the employees now. During the collection event we say, ‘Yes! Bring your items to recycle, there’s no charge!’ We also have internal support for these activities and it’s a pretty amazing thing for the company to do. Marvin Windows and Doors is progressive, and I want to support that by doing the best thing I can do for the company.”

The two-day event is held once a year, and employees are invited to bring their electronic waste in to be collected by Pearson and his team. I asked him about the effort it takes to organize an event like this, and Wayne said, “It’s outside of the facilities’ normal activities, so we take two days for the collection. There is a lot of work and preparation for it, and then during the collection we’re actually kept pretty busy. We don’t staff it full time, but we try to make it so that someone is there if people bring heavier items.” At the end of the event, waste is shipped to The Retrofit Companies’ location in Little Canada, MN to be sorted and delivered for recycling.

Over the span of just ten days, over the course of 5 years, in a town with less than 1,800 residents, one company was able to collect more than 115,000 pounds of waste electronics and appliances as a service to its employees. This waste was diverted from improper disposal or landfilling, and was responsibly recycled. The community collection model has been a staggering success for the worker community at Marvin Windows and Doors.

So, what do employees who take advantage of the recycling collection think of it and would Pearson recommend this for other organizations? In short, resounding positivity. He says, “Yes, it’s a morale booster and a service. It’s well worth the effort to get this type of program going. I’ve been working with Jake [TRC Environmental Sales Director] for two years on this, and it is awesome working together. Planning this out, the support of our company, the many individuals coming together to communicate these efforts. It’s a huge opportunity for Marvin Windows and Doors employees to clean out basements, garages, and storage areas for no charge. The employees are grateful and appreciative that this is a possibility. This is something a company can do that is beneficial to employees. It is a big effort, but well worth it.” •

 

Looking for additional information to plan community recycling collection programs? Read this:

How to plan your community recycling day

CRT TV and Monitor Recycling

 

 

crt-recycling-process.jpgUPDATED FEBRUARY 2017

CRTs and CRT Glass were once easily recycled into new CRTs; however, the demand for new CRTs has collapsed in favor of new flat panel technologies.

Because of rising costs, negative economic incentives, and shifts in CRT glass markets, some CRT processors and recyclers are choosing to store the glass indefinitely, rather than send it for recycling (or disposal), which increases the risk of mismanagement and/or abandonment of the CRTs.

– US EPA, September 2014 

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH WASTE CRT's?

In the electronics recycling industry, waste processing changes over time as methods improve or markets shift. CRT recycling used to be what is known as a 'closed loop process' where old leaded glass tubes were recycled into new ones; however, new technology does not use leaded glass tubes. (Think: flat panel tv's and computer monitors.) There is less need for the leaded glass which used to be a commodity, so they are getting problematic for some recyclers.

We now know that some computer recycling companies stockpiled and left behind over 100 million pounds of CRT tubes and glass when they went out of business, and that "Materials Processing Corp. (MPC) in Minnesota went out of business after being fined $125,000 by the state for improperly storing crushed cathode ray tubes." One company in Kentucky admitted to illegally dumping electronic waste into a hole in their backyard.

As a waste generator, you are responsible for seeing to the safe and legal disposal or recycling of your end-of-life electronics. Finding a reputable recycling partner is the best way to reduce your liability. A comprehensive e-waste recycling program protects your company from unnecessary complications and costs while improving your business and the environment.

what happEns to the crt's we COLLECT?

Your compliance, security, and safety is our priority. TRC’s partner recycles all equipment to its individual commodity components and separates all hazardous materials on-site to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. They maintain a state-of-the art, automated de-manufacturing and recycling system that provides an effective, economical solution for recycling obsolete monitors and televisions into various new glass uses and products. Using downstream vendors that provide a recycling or reuse process is the preferred method of recycling by state and federal agencies. Waste is sorted by type and chemistry to produce glass that is ready for the downstream companies, This process for CRT glass processing meets and exceeds all federal regulations and guidelines regarding the CRT Rule. All protocols meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, while safely processing the glass with no exposure to the environment.

TRC's approved partners offer data security, certified recycling and end facilities, a vetted recycling process, and documentation you need for reporting, including a certificate of recycling. Visit our webpage about items accepted and be assured you safely and responsibly recycle waste like used electronics from your business.

Ready to recycle? Schedule a pick up at your business now!

Request Recycling Pick Up

Recycling Collection Events in Minnesota

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Each spring and fall, communities throughout Minnesota hold special waste recycling days for their residents. The Retrofit Companies is called in as a partner at these events, where many times there are multiple vendors to collect all types of waste that cannot or should not be disposed of in the landfill. Those items range from tires and paint, to appliances, batteries, and computers that require proper disposal. Some events have paper shredding, even yard waste collection services, available to their residents. Keep reading to see how one of our parters responded after their recent community recycling collectin programs event.

Hi Everyone,

The spring cleanup is over!  It was a busy one this year- whew!  I am glad that we had such good partners to make the event successful and available to residents! I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone from your organization who worked the event.  Every single worker was happy to be there and seemed to be smiling through the event (even if they didn’t stop moving until after event).   There were no issues and the only comments from residents seems to be about the wonderful weather!   

I would appreciate if you could send me an invoice with the weights and quantities in the next few weeks so that I can update our Council with the outcome of the event. 

Again, I wish to pass on my thanks to your employees who worked the event and I look forward to working with you in the future.

I have attached some photos from the event to this email!  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to send me an email or give me a jingle on the phone!   

Chris S.
Environmental/Code Specialist
City of Maplewood MN

 

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Cars_at_Recycling_Collection.jpg

 

 How to plan your community recycling day

2016 Residential E-waste Recycling Prices for TRC

UPDATE: May 9, 2016 New price for Microwave Recycling

EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 2016 new residential e-waste recycling prices will take effect for TRC's locations in Owatonna and Little Canada. These prices are in effect for residential drop off customers only. For business pricing, you may get a quote from our reps by calling 800-795-1230.

All monitors, screens, televisions will be $20 each. All other e-waste, including laptops, will be $0.10 per pound.

$0.10 per pound for these items:

· CPUs & Computer Towers
· Tablet PCs
· Keyboards
· Mice
· Printers
· Fax Machines
· DVD Players
· VCR
· Laptop Computers 

$20 each for these items:

· Televisions
· Computer monitors
· TV DVD-VCR combinations
· Monitors for home security
· Monitors for CCTV systems
· All in one computers
· eBook readers
· Digital picture frames
· Portable DVD players
· Microwaves (other household appliances $30 each)

 

Learn how to find a responsible electronics recycling company

2015-16 computer Recycling Prices for TRC

household computer recycling

EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 2016 new residential e-waste recycling prices will take effect for TRC's locations in Owatonna and Little Canada. These prices are in effect for residential drop off customers only. For business pricing, you may get a quote from our reps by calling 800-795-1230.

All monitors, screens, televisions will be $20 each. All other e-waste, including laptops, will be $0.10 per pound.

For business pricing, you may get a quote from our reps by calling 800-795-1230 or EMAILING US HERE.

 

ITEMS ACCEPTED

· Tablet PCs
· Keyboards
· Mice
· Printers
· Fax Machines
· DVD Players
· VCR
· Laptop Computers 

· Televisions
· Computer monitors
· TV DVD-VCR combinations
· Monitors for home security
· Monitors for CCTV systems
· All in one computers
· eBook readers
· Digital picture frames
· Portable DVD players

 

Learn how to find a responsible electronics recycling company

New Residential E-waste Recycling Prices for TRC

UPDATE: 2016 PRICING AVAILABLE HERE

Beginning September 1, 2014 new residential e-waste recycling prices will take effect for TRC's locations in Owatonna and Little Canada. These prices are in effect for residential drop off customers only. For business pricing, you may get a quote from our reps by calling 800-795-1230.

All monitors, screens, televisions will be $10 each. All other e-waste, including laptops, will be $0.10 per pound.

$0.10 per pound for these items:

· CPUs & Computer Towers
· Tablet PCs
· Keyboards
· Mice
· Printers
· Fax Machines
· DVD Players
· VCR
· Laptop Computers 

$10 each for these items:

· Televisions
· Computer monitors
· TV DVD-VCR combinations
· Monitors for home security
· Monitors for CCTV systems
· All in one computers
· eBook readers
· Digital picture frames
· Portable DVD players

 

Learn how to find a responsible electronics recycling company

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