Green Citizen Prevents E-Waste from Entering Landfills

Green Citizen is an electronics recycling and repair company with four locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have been taking electronic waste since 2005 and have had over 100,000 customers. Below is an interview with their San Francisco Manager Kevin Landers.

Do you take all kinds of electronics, such as phones, radios, mobile devices and keyboards, along with desktops and laptops?

We accept anything that runs on electricity at all.

What are the main harmful chemicals within electronics?

Toxic materials in computer components include:

Lead and cadmium in computer circuit boards
Lead oxide and barium in computer monitors’ cathode ray tubes
Mercury in switches and flat screens and
Brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, cables and plastic casing.

Is your collection service free?
Yes. Drop off is free at our centers, as well as business pick-up (minimum of 10 qualified items).

What portion of the items you receive can you refurbish and sell?
While we are constantly maximizing and improving the amount of material that can be diverted from the recycling stream, up to 25 percent of material by weight has redistribution potential.

Is most of the e-waste in the United States being shipped overseas currently?

By recent estimates, over 80% is exported.

How much of the electronics locally are you collecting?

All material we collect is processed within 150 miles of San Francisco, and we do not  ship reuseable material outside the U.S.

Will you expand to other cities, and if so, which ones?
As we refine our operational model it becomes more and more replicable – we are in the process of completing our Bay Area Pilot.

How much of e-waste in the U.S. is currently recycled or collected in a responsible sustainable way?

An average of 220 tons of electronic waste is dumped in landfills and incinerators every year  in the US alone. These toxic items constitute as much as 2-5% of the US municipal solid waste stream and continues to grow rapidly. These toxic items constitute as much as 2-5% of the US municipal solid waste stream and continues to grow rapidly.

Which electronics contain the most harmful chemicals, such as heavy metals?
Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and Televisions, and LCD/Plasma displays.

Image Credit: Thousandways, Wiki Commons

 

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18 comments

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

We have e-waste services and it makes such a difference for our planet. It really should be mandatory..... have you seen photos of mountains of discarded computers in India with little
urchins climbing over them??? It is inexcusable that we ship our waste to other countries.

Andy O.
Past Member 3 years ago

Good for you! Our thanx ~

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L.3 years ago

thanks

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

Thanks.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

Thanks.

Juliet D.
judith sanders3 years ago

Goodwill accepts old electronics. Check with your local town landfill to see what kinds of hazardous wastes they will take. Sometimes fire departments will have special days when you can turn in all sorts of unused household chemicals, old paint, batteries, etc. Just switching to rechargeable batteries will keep a lot of poisons out of our groundwater, and save you money.

Cindy B.
Cindy Black3 years ago

What a wonderful company; what a wonderful service. Thanks, Jake, for yet another great post.

Rebecca S.
Rebecca S.3 years ago

glad to see they don't ship anything overseas :)

Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Great service... I need soemthing like this in my area...

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Thanks!!!