With an estimated 500 million pounds of electronics collecting dust in California’s closets, garages and attics, finding ways to reuse those metals, plastics and chemicals is critical. That’s where John Shegerian’s company, Electronic Recyclers, comes in. The Futures Channel takes viewers inside the largest electronic recycling plant in California in its new online micro-documentary, “Recycling Computers.”
An industry born out of the technological revolution, recycling electronic waste is one more part of the surging green wave aimed at leaving our planet in better shape than when we found it.
The largest facility in California, Electronic Recyclers can break down millions of pounds of electronic waste every month. Everything from computer monitors to cell phones to hard drives comes through their doors to be crushed, shredded and melted down. The Futures Channel releases its latest online documentary, “Recycling Computers,” on Monday, April 16. The video takes students inside the recycling plant to see the staggering amount of electronics they handle on a daily basis.
“No one ever thought about it, originally, when they invented these things, where they were going to go when they came to their end of life,” says John Shegerian, CEO and co-founder of Electronic Recyclers.
As Shegerian explains in the movie, it is estimated that in California alone 500 million pounds of electronics sit collecting dust in warehouses and attics and garages, which could be recycled. Only two percent of the 100 million discarded cell phones in this country each year are recycled appropriately, he says.
Being able to recycle the materials used in electronics and keeping e-waste out of landfills is central to Electronic Recyclers’ work. “Everything that comes through the front door leaves as a plastic, glass or metal, to be re-used again,” Shegerian explains. Metals, like gold in computer chips, are thrown into chemical baths and then melted down to be used again in other products.
In addition to publishing educational videos on its website, The Futures Channel provides lessons and activities so students can immediately apply the math and science concepts they have seen in the videos.
“As I watched this , I was struck with the complexity of the components of the computers and of the apparent need to recycle these prevalent items in our lives,” says educator Roberta Haren. “The 5th graders I teach will be able to take real world knowledge of electronics that they have and be able to immediately connect to the video.” Haren describes in detail how she would use the video in her classroom. Her complete review is available on The Futures Channel’s website.
The video also provides students with a good example of an entrepreneur, John Shegerian, who has combined his business savvy with his passion to help safeguard the planet. “We are all part of this earth,” he notes in the video, “and we all have to be involved to leave a better environment than we inherited.”