10 Important Questions to Ask Your Electronic Recycler


1. How do you process equipment?

Is manufacturing done on-site, or is equipment shipped to a different location for processing? If e-waste is processed on site, what methods are used to handle the materials? If equipment is shipped to other processors for handling, where does it go and what happens to it? Responsible recycling companies will have nothing to hide from its customers and will be able to tell you exactly what happens to your equipment and where the processing takes place.

2. What do you do with your CRTs?

The cathode ray tube found in computer monitors and televisions are the most environmentally harmful component of e-waste, so how a recycler handles CRTs may be the most important decision you can ask. First, make sure your recycler is not simply disposing of old CRT monitors in a landfill. If they are processing CRTs on site, ask how. Are they smashing CRTs in an open area? How do they assure that environmental standards are met? At MER, CRTs are processed in a state-of-the-art cathode ray tube recycling system that features a vaccum-sealed, HEPA air-filtered chamber that maintains environmental integrity.

3. Do you send any of the CRTs you collect overseas?

Exporting CRTs to third-world countries – Asia specifically – has become a cheap, popular scheme for less-than-reputable recyclers. Unfortunately, it also comes at a tremendous cost to the environment as slack regulations in poor countries allow for the use of horrendous processing methods for extracting materials – methods such as leaded class from CRTs being buried in open farm fields. Midwest Electronic Recovery adheres to a strict policy against shipping CRTs overseas, choosing instead to work only with companies who operate under similar environmental guidelines.

4. How much of what you process is disposed of in a landfill?

Is it really recycling if your equipment just ends up getting buried down at the county landfill? MER mission regarding handling e-waste is simple: reduce, reuse and recycle. Markets exist for all of the materials found in e-waste and Midwest Electronic Recovery does not dispose of any component of electronic equipment in a landfill. The e-waste that enters the doors of Midwest Electronic Recovery’s facility has one of two features: either it is refurbished for resale as computer equipment, or it is de-manufactured for transportation to an industrial facility for material reclamation.

5. Do you meet all federal, state, and local regulations?

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has specific rules pertaining to disposal and handling of other regulations. Midwest Electronic Recovery is in 100% compliance with EPA regulations, and not only follows Iowa Department of Natural Resources guidelines, but is also certified by IDNR’s Electronics Recycling Administrative Rules Advisory Committee.

6. Do you employ prison labor to process equipment?

Because electronic recycling is such a labor intensive industry, many companies employ prisoners to perform de-manufacturing duties. Rather than pay criminals, MER provides honest jobs to hard-working, tax paying individuals.

7. How do you limit liability to your clients?

If your recycler does not properly handle your company’s equipment, your business can still be held liable for clean-up or be found in violation of environmental regulations even though it was the recycler who was at fault. Proper Asset Management is a top priority at Midwest Electronic Recovery. MER provides its customers with the necessary documentation, including Certificates of Recycling and Certificates of Destruction, to relieve you or your business from liability for the equipment and provide the peace of mind that your assets are properly recycled.

8. How do you provide data security?

In today’s society, nearly everything is accomplished with the aid of a computer – from financial transactions to product research an development to recording personal medical records. What happens to the information stored on these computers when they are recycled? Who will have access to your credit card numbers, your company’s patented information, details of your pension account or even a letter to your sister, when that computer leaves your hands? At Midwest Computer Brokers, we guarantee that all information stored in the equipment we process will be unrecoverable. If you prefer, MER can even physically dismantle or destroy the equipment.

9. Can you provide references?

Every industry, and especially electronic recycling, demands a positive working relationship between a business and its customers. A good recycler should be able to provide you with several references of work similar to the service you are seeking. MER can provide references from nearly every business sector: financial, manufacturing, education, publishing, telecommunications, health care, government agencies, and many others.

10. How much volume can you handle?

Your recycler has to be able to meet your unique requirements as a customer – that means everything from a single PC to 20 tons or more of miscellaneous electronic equipment. Midwest Electronic Recovery will accept any volume of equipment.