ECA Continues Aggressive Computer Recycling Program

Sep 23, 2010

Data spying. Polluted groundwater. Depletion of rare minerals.

These are some of the potential threats related to tossing old computers like yesterday's trash. They are also compelling reasons why recycling them makes good sense--for business and for the environment.

As part of its wide-ranging commitment to environmental best practices, Education Corporation of America (ECA) has accelerated its computer recycling and "e-waste" disposal program, partnering with Intercon Solutions, an Illinois-based company that recycles e-waste for corporations, municipalities, and non-profit organizations across the U.S.

(ECA owns and operates Virginia College, Virginia College online programs, Ecotech Institute, Golf Academy of America, and Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College.)

As an example, ECA recently shipped an estimated 20,000 pounds of outdated electronics to Intercon for processing in its 225,000 square-foot facility. According to Kyle Crider, ECA's Manager of Environmental Operations, this shipment was comprised of an estimated 400 computers, 200 monitors and 50 printers. The old equipment came from the ECA corporate headquarters in Birmingham and from its nearby Virginia College campus.

But there is recycling, and then there is...recycling.

Even companies that claim to recycle outdated electronics may simply dump them in landfills where leaking toxins from the components (like lead, chromium, and mercury) may pollute groundwater--or ship them to metal scavengers in developing countries. Recent media reports, including those on 60 Minutes and in the New York Times, have documented cases of improper disposal by these opportunists that posed threats to human health and the environment. Also, the private data that may still reside on these computers is a serious security risk.

One of the reasons ECA selected Intercon Solutions is its "Know Where It Goes" philosophy. This means that Intercon keeps all electronics, metals, and plastics it receives away from landfills or secondary markets, regardless of convenience or profit incentive. By not reselling equipment, functional or non-functional, they guarantee that all materials will be properly recycled, all data will be destroyed, and all assets will be kept out of the secondary market.