E-waste recycling falls woefully short of the levels necessary to reduce the need for mining and producing new raw materials that involve toxins that frequently reach the environment. We talked with John Shegerian, co-founder and CEO of ERI, a Fresno, Calif.-based e-waste recycler with eight U.S. processing locations that serve every ZIP code in the country and partnerships with recycling companies in 40 countries. John explains how ERI manages recycled electronics, the importance of choosing R2– and e-Stewards-certified electronics recyclers, and how the Basel Convention on shipping e-waste can be improved. We also discuss how retailers and technology manufacturers can participate in a closed-loop, regional recycling system to dramatically increase e-waste recycling.
ERI has introduced what it calls the most comprehensive e-waste tracking platform to enable full transparency into the deposition of the materials it collects. Called the ESG Impact Report and Calculator, the tool provides accountability regarding environmental performance and the personal data on digital devices it recycles. John pointed out in ERI’s 2020 ESG report that virtually every device we use today — from PCs and smartphones to video doorbells and smartwatches — can carry personal data that can potentially fall out of our control and into the hands of hackers who might use it to steal identities, launch ransomware attacks, or simply post something embarrassing on the web. Send ERI an email to receive a copy of their book, The Insecurity of Everything, to learn how to erase personal data safely before recycling a PC, laptop, smartphone, or other smart devices. You can learn about ERI at eridirect.com.