posted on January 19, 2011 15:50
As big, boxy t.v.'s and computer monitors get replaced with sleek flat screens, you may have wondered how that old technology gets recycled.
Several former state-of-the-art t.v.'s sit in the back of Rockford's American store. They're waiting for a trip to Universal Recycling Technologies to get started on a new life.
"Individual employees will take apart all the commodities, remove the plastic, the copper, the aluminum, separate the cathode ray tube and put it down to our quality control which will separate them by type."
General Manager Scott Buroker says the company takes in 12 truckloads of old electronics every day. They make their money selling the different material to companies that make new goods.
"The copper is reused for copper material, the plastic is going to be reused to make new plastic materials."
Illinois requires U.R.T. to take an extra step. Employees have to weigh and log each manufacturers brand that comes in, so the State can make sure they're meeting required recycling goals. Environmental Health Director Tom Pritchett says it's an effort to keep toxic materials out of landfills.
"There's a lot of lead in the components of the unit, there's Cadmium, there's other heavy metals as well."
U.R.T. just finished moving into another building to expand their processing capabilities. Prictchett says the company will keep growing.
"Adding new processing lines that will filter them down into more of a pure commodity, which is not only better for us and our downstream customers but allows better control over where that material goes."
U.R.T. receives about 200-thousand pounds of material every day, and the average employee goes through about 700 pounds in their shift.
American accepts e-waste, as well as Best Buy. Most major electronics retailers accept recyclable items, but its best tocall ahead and ask, because some businesses charge small fees.