EPC – Recycling Practices You Can Trust

In December, we published a blog post titled “Combating the Recycling Crisis.” In this post, we outlined the obstacles the US recycling industry currently faces, and what people can do to help lower the amount of waste headed to landfills. EPC would like to expand upon the last of these tips listed in that post:

Look for companies with trustworthy recycling processes. EPC has a strict no-landfill policy for its e-waste. When you take your electronics and appliances to EPC, you can be confident that your e-waste will be responsibly recycled and processed for reuse. 

If you have questions, you’re not alone. You may be wondering, “How can EPC make a promise like that?” or, “Can I really trust that none of my assets will end up in a landfill?” It’s important to ask these questions of any business promising environmentally sound practices. That’s why EPC wants to make things clear.

First, we should acknowledge that “e-waste” is a bit of a misnomer. The word “e-waste” implies that what we collect will become waste, which is not the case. The correct terminology is “e-scrap,” because what we collect is demanufactured and broken down into commodities such as steel, aluminum, and plastic. The materials we recover during the recycling process are suited to make housings for many types of electronics and are therefore in high demand. Spotters ensure no contamination enters the stream, and the result is a pure product we sell to various manufacturers to create new devices. Our no-landfill policy remains strict and firm.

Our word may not be enough for you—and it shouldn’t be. That’s why we have the certifications to prove it. EPC is proud to be certified to e-Stewards and ISO 14001 standards. These certifications deal with e-scrap processing and environmental protection. EPC undergoes frequent auditing to ensure compliance with these standards and continually raise the bar for our recycling practices.

Although the recycling industry continues to struggle, we are committed to maintaining and improving our efforts to keep toxic e-waste from contaminating the environment. For more information about e-Stewards, ISO 14001, or EPC’s recycling practices, visit the links below.

https://www.epcusa.com/certifications/

http://e-stewards.org/

https://www.iso.org/iso-14001-environmental-management.html

Tokyo Turns E-Waste Into Gold

As the 2020 Summer Olympics draw near, Tokyo is preparing to host the games for the first time since 1964. The Japanese capital has a long road ahead as construction continues on the New National Stadium, and they prepare to welcome millions of visitors to the city. One of the many responsibilities of the Olympic host country is to provide winning athletes with their gold, silver and bronze medals. While the metals used to manufacture these in the past have come from a variety of sources, Japan has turned to an unconventional source: e-waste. 

Nearly ninety percent of Japanese municipalities have participated in collection programs that began in April of 2017. During this two-year campaign, those living in Japan have dropped off used cell phones and other small electronic devices at certain sites. These have been collected and dismantled for precious metals, which are extracted and refined to manufacture the five thousand medals required for the Olympic games. Nearly fifty thousand tons of small electronics have been collected across the country, including approximately 5.07 million used mobile phones. In February, the program met its goals of thirty kilograms of gold, 4100 kilograms of silver, and 2700 kilograms of copper (gold medals are made from silver and only plated in gold). The program will end on March 31st, 2019.

This is the first time the awards will be made entirely from recycled materials; but one must wonder, why hasn’t this been done before? Japan’s initiative sheds light on the potential “gold mine” that exists within the millions of tons of e-waste disposed of each year worldwide. Phones, laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics containing precious metals in their circuitry sit in landfills like a vein waiting to be struck, yet few companies take advantage of this resource. While one phone may contain only trace amounts of gold, Japan has proven that those traces add up.

The Japanese public’s enthusiasm for the initiative is not only due to the environmental benefits. Many people have expressed feelings of pride over donating their phones. The metals that once sat in their pockets will hang from the necks of the best athletes in the world. This brings a sense of public inclusion previous Olympics have lacked. In some way, every medal awarded is a win for Japan, regardless of their rank in an event.

Tokyo’s Olympics are also promoting sustainability in other ways. Recently, Japan’s Olympic team announced that it will wear uniforms made from recycled athletic textiles. Many of Japan’s top athletes have donated their old clothes for this endeavor. Both campaigns will cut costs for an expensive Olympics with a price tag once estimated at $30 billion. 

EPC appreciates Japan’s efforts to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Olympic games. As a company dedicated to responsible e-waste reuse and recycling, we hope this sets a precedent and encourages other nations to find more innovative ways to utilize their old devices. Perhaps Beijing could create a similar campaign for the 2022 Winter Olympics, or Paris will step up in 2024. Maybe we, the USA, can follow Japan’s example when Los Angeles hosts in 2028 for the first time in forty-four years. But whether or not our current devices are future Olympic medals, we can start looking at e-waste differently much sooner than that.

For more information about Tokyo’s e-waste recycling program, visit the link below:

https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/medals/project/

EPC Opens New Atlanta Facility

In January of this year, EPC officially opened their newest facility in Atlanta, GA, offering all EPC equipment disposition services to the region. At 65,000 square feet, the Atlanta facility is the largest EPC equipment processing facility outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area.

EPC’s presence in the Southeast began in 2008 when it opened its Columbia, South Carolina facility, which has been servicing businesses throughout the region ever since. With our new presence in Atlanta, we hope to expand that service and meet the region’s rising demand for equipment disposition. “More companies are seeing the value of professional IT asset disposition services like ours,” said Dan Fuller, president and founder of EPC. “The reality is that most businesses don’t want to pay to have antiquated equipment shipped very far. Therefore, it makes good business sense to continue to expand our geographic footprint in the United States and globally.”

Our St. Louis-based company was founded in 1984 and operates across the United States in six other locations: St. Charles, MO; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Houston, TX; Allentown, PA; and Wright City, MO. The company serves as an international leader in recycling and proper environmental handling of used IT equipment. EPC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSI Leasing, Inc., the largest independent IT leasing company in the country. EPC’s services include the sale of new and used computer systems and parts, repairs and upgrades, networking design, and IT asset management. EPC is committed to a zero-landfill policy and zero export of unprocessed equipment overseas and has signed the Basel Action Network Pledge of Responsible E-Waste Stewardship as a certified e-Steward. For more information and a complete summary of the services provided, contact EPC at (636)443-1999 or visit epcusa.com.

1100 West Lake Parkway, Suite 175, Atlanta, GA 30336

Combating the Recycling Crisis

The recycling market is in a crisis.

In January of 2018, China enacted its new recycling imports policy, essentially putting an end to decades-long United States recycling practices. China, which previously imported a whopping forty-five percent of the world’s plastic waste for recycling, now refuses to accept any imports which are not 99.5% pure. This is due to the growing environmental concerns associated with processing these contaminated plastics. Now, countries which relied on China for plastic recycling have been forced to seek alternatives. The bulk of the responsibility has fallen on other Asian countries unequipped to carry the burden China has left behind. The US, often unable to meet the 99.5% purity requirement, sends many recycled goods to the landfills. Recycling is no longer the lucrative business it once was. Instead, recycling companies lose money.

Part of the US’s crisis has to do with “single-stream” recycling. Years ago, in order to recycle, households were forced to separate recyclable goods by type: glass, plastic, metal, and paper. This method of curbside recycling made it easier for recycling companies to process pure batches of recyclable materials; however, this was much more tedious for the average household, and public participation in recycling was low. But when the US introduced single-stream recycling in the 1990s, participation greatly increased. “Single-stream” refers to the now-common practice of placing all recyclable goods into the same bin for collection. Rather than placing the responsibility on the consumer, it is now the recycling plant’s job to separate and process recyclable materials.

While single-stream recycling’s convenience made recycling more accessible to the public, it has created a challenge for the industry. Processing all recyclable goods in one bin increases the risk of contaminants, which can weaken batches of recycled plastic and render it unusable. Many uninformed consumers also place non-recyclable materials in their recycling bins, posing many problems for recycling machines. Garden hoses and soft plastics such as plastic bags are among the most common offenders, both of which can become tangled in machinery and endanger workers. Recycling plants now struggle to process pure batches of plastic that can be refined and reused, and the criteria of China’s new policy is almost impossible to achieve. Even if your home maintains good recycling practices, your efforts may be for naught.

As awareness of this problem grows, many have become discouraged.

How can we be sure our recycling is being processed properly? What is the point of recycling if our waste may end up in a landfill anyway?

The first and most important step is education. To avoid contamination, educate yourself on what can and cannot go in your recycling bin. This varies by county, so please pay attention to your local recycling and waste management practices. Pay attention to the numbers on your plastics, and be aware of which numbers your local recycling collectors can take. Avoid “wishful” or “aspirational recycling”–if you aren’t sure whether something can be recycled, don’t put it in your recycling bin. Educate your friends and family on these rules, and encourage them to be aware of their local regulations. The more people practice good recycling habits, the fewer contaminants end up in recycling machines.

When you can, reduce and reuse first. Remember, “recycle” is the third part of the triangle. While it can be hard to avoid things like single-use plastic packaging, look for ways to reduce the amount of waste your household produces, and reuse what you can. Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store. Use reusable water bottles instead of buying disposable plastic.

Be aware of your resources. While plastic bags don’t belong in your curbside bin, they are recyclable. I f you have the common plastic bag full of plastic bags you have no idea what to do with somewhere in your kitchen, look for special bins at your local grocery store to deposit your soft plastics. Instead of throwing old light bulbs away (which is not only wasteful, but also may pose a chemical hazard), find out if your recycling center takes light bulbs, and what kinds of light bulbs they take. While these solutions may require an extra trip, they help keep curbside recycling pure and allow you peace of mind.

Look for companies with trustworthy recycling processes. EPC has a strict no-landfill policy for its e-waste. When you take your electronics and appliances to EPC, you can be confident that your e-waste will be responsibly recycled and processed for reuse. Visit our website at https://www.epcusa.com/services/itad/asset-disposition/#recycling for more information about our recycling process.

The problems facing the recycling industry are large, and it may be tempting to give up and dump everything in the trash. But you can take responsible steps to help recycling companies process your waste.

More information on the recycling crisis, and what you can do to help:

National Geographic: Plastic Recycling Is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.

New York Times: 6 Things You’re Recycling Wrong

Electronics Recycling

What does EPC accept for public recycling drop-off?

One of the most common questions we receive at our retail store is, “What types of equipment can you recycle?” EPC accepts many different types of electronics for recycling at our St. Charles and Wright City facilities, most free of charge. Public recycling drop-off is a service we provide to retail customers and is limited […]

Interesting New Numbers on Data Breaches – The Numbers Will Stack Up Against YOUR Company

From Eric Levy: ITAD Sales, EPC, Inc.

EPC, Inc, now in it’s 30th year of business, continues to be a centerpiece of information in regard to Data Security. We have been offering companies of all sizes options that ensure compliance with specific industry standards to help protect companies reputation and information. A recent article from DataBreaches.Net shows just how important it is to be compliant.

“Nearly 1 in 4 data breach letter recipients became a victim of identity fraud, with breaches involving Social Security numbers to be the most damaging.”

This is a staggering number and cannot be overlooked. That means that if your company had an “average sized” Data Breach from a mishandled asset or drive of 554 leaked names*, you would have 139 customers or clients that now have had their entire identity taken from them. This is a process that can take from 3-7 years to reclaim not to mention the untold number of dollars that it will cost YOUR COMPANY to make this happen.

The next time you have retired assets that your boss told you to “get rid of” don’t just think of your potential feel good moment of running into that boss’ office and telling him you got rid of all of those “old” computers and were able to do it for no money. Think about that boss’ reaction when you have to tell him the guy that did it for free just stole you client’s identities and you now have to deal with the absolute costs associated with a breach – along with the unknown costs of lost business. EPC offers true, peace of mind and for very little time on your part. We offer fluid solutions to fit any company in any industry.

Contact EPC and learn more about our Industry-leading Data Security operations. We would love to help you review your protocols to make sure you are compliant within your industry.

*The data to describe an average size breach is from 2012. We expect the average size of a breach to continue to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future.

Please feel free to contact EPC and learn more about our Industry leading Data Security operations. We would love to help you review your protocols to make sure you are compliant within your industry.

5 Strangest Returns to EPC, Inc. – Part 1

EPC, Inc. has been fortunate enough to become a juggernaut in the IT Asset Recovery business and our reputation as one of the best solutions for end-of-life IT equipment continues to grow.

Those of you that consider “IT equipment” computers, printers, servers and more – you’re absolutely right. The vast majority of equipment returned falls into these categories, but you may be surprised what makes its way back to EPC.

First, a bit of background. EPC, Inc. is owned by CSI Leasing, one of the world’s largest IT lessors that provide leased equipment around the globe. Companies will receive, for example, 2,200 new computer systems, and the now off-lease equipment is acquired by EPC, Inc. and sold to schools, businesses, people in our 5,500 sq ft retail showroom – anyone that wants to save money. This “IT Equipment received back off-lease also includes some items you’d have never thought would grace the halls EPC.

Not only does this first of many listings of “weird returns to EPC, Inc.” make for an interesting read, it’s also a great way for those looking for the “out of the ordinary” to find solutions thanks to EPC, Inc.

5.) Medical Centrifuge: Centrifuges are machines that rapidly spin fluids to separate substances of different densities by using centrifugal force to produce a form of artificial gravity. They come in from medical companies of all kinds when medical equipment is upgraded.

4.) X-ray Machine: Yes, those machines that you see inside of hospitals, medical clinics and dentists office across the nation that are taking pictures of bones, screws, metal plates and foreign objects eventually make their way into EPC, Inc.

Read more

The Value of Facebook…

There can be no denying that Facebook, like so many of the other New/Social Media tools available, is a force to be bargained with. With more than 500mil current users and the number climbing quickly daily, the networking power of Facebook has become an avenue of information, marketing and potential profit for any business.

EPC, Inc. would like to remind everyone about their Facebook presence online and invites YOU to “Like” EPC in an effort to grow the awareness and viability of our Facebook tether to the Internet.

Simply click here to visit and “Like” our presence on Facebook now!

It’s one of the best ways to find out about our current events, our charity efforts, our recycling initiatives and sales throughout the year. You won’t be sorry you did!

Do YOU have a Facebook account? Thought about creating a profile for yourself or your company? Tell us in the comments section below how YOU are using Facebook to change the way you communicate, network and do business. We’d love to hear about it!

Help us understand “the Value of Facebook” now.

The Downside of Upgrading – Or why should I pay for computer recycling?

In a recent blog post on Blue Planet Green Living entitled Computer Recycling – The Downside of Upgrading, Caryn Green discusses many of the hurdles we face as an electronics recycler. She does a good job of highlighting the major issues – overseas dumping, identity theft and data privacy, organized crime elements, and the environmental impact. However, even with all those potential issues, we still run into potential clients that say “I will not pay for electronic recycling!” Read more

Computer Recycling Put Inmates, Staff at Risk

Federal prisoners and prison staff members were exposed to toxic levels of heavy metals for years, says a new report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Read more