What Happens to Your Computer When it’s Recycled?
Computers that are deemed obsolete or broken are demanufactured and separated into their basic components by volunteers. Free Geek then finds a local industrial recycler to process the materials. Free Geek only works with companies that we are confident are handling the materials in an environmentally responsible manner. Free Geek is also a member of Oregon E-Cycles, which provides a free, easy and environmentally responsible recycling option for computers, monitors and TVs.
- Obsolete monitors and terminals are processed by Total Reclaim in Seattle, Washington. (Total Reclaim adheres to the BAN Policy Principles.)
- Aluminum, motors, wires and cables, printers, optical drives, speakers, and other copper bearing material are sold to Metro Metals in Portland, Oregon.
- Circuit boards and processors are sold for precious metal recovery to Hallmark Refining Corporation in Washington.
- Plastic is sent to Total Reclaim in Seattle, Washington.
- Steel is sold to Schnitzer Steel, in Portland, Oregon.
How We Choose Our Recyclers
Free Geek consistently works to make sure its industrial recyclers process e-waste in an environmentally responsible way. At times, we have turned down recyclers who’ve offered additional profit in order to uphold this value. We require the following of our e-waste vendors:
- Vendors may not ship overseas any material considered hazardous by The Basel Action Network. All processing of these materials must occur in North America.
- Vendors may not send to the landfill material that could be recycled. Some material may be landfilled if there is no recycling process available, or if the only alternative would be burning it for fuel, which is less desirable than landfilling.
- Vendors may not use prison labor in any part of their process.
- Vendors are allowed to ship out of the country only material that is considered a commodity, as in clean steel, plastic, or copper.
- Vendors must be open to an audit of their processes, or provide results from a recent audit.