File this one under “Worcester – Who Knew?”:
There’s a slideshow of the Worcester facility, which is near 146 (on Blackstone River Road).
The article is a pretty interesting read: they disassemble electronics manually and sort materials that are valuable, materials that are hazardous, materials that can do straight to a landfill, etc.
During the tour, environmental manager Andrew McManus said that manual separation allows the company to come up with a pure form of commodity, compared to automated processes. There were piles of cell tower base stations waiting for disassembly, for example, during our visit. Rooting out the copper wiring or gold-plated components and separating them allows them to sell it for the highest price possible to smelters.
In McManus’ view, paying for electronics recycling is the way to ensure that workers are protected, prison labor isn’t used, and the waste is handled in a responsible way. It’s also paid to destroy sensitive data, in some cases actually having employees witness data tapes destroyed. McManus has audited sites that receive its scrap and Metech itself has been audited as part of the e-stewards certification.
“If you don’t have a fee-based system, you’re encouraging containers (of e-waste) being shipped overseas,” he said. “But if it’s expensive and not convenient, then recycling is probably not going to happen.”
(Image: SAR-UN tops, a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic image from mosoma’s photostream.)