What happens to old electronics once they are no longer useful? Most Turlock residents either pay to bring them to a landfill or simply throw them away. However, throwing out most electronic components can be harmful to the environment, and even illegal.
“The new electronic waste recycling laws make it a crime to throw away old computers and other electronics,” according to the Turlock Municipal Services page regarding electronic waste.
Computers and electronics can contain toxins, including lead, cadmium and mercury. The Environmental Protection Agency has laws that prevent this material from being disposed of in landfills, where it can seep into groundwater or otherwise harm the environment.
“You have to pay to dump electronics at a landfill, and no place in Turlock takes them for free,” said Henry Jackson of Cal-Green Recycling.
Cal-Green Recycling saw the community's lack of options as an opportunity to provide free recycling of electronics in Turlock.
“Nobody else is doing it to help the environment,” said Duane Kamesch of Cal-Green Recycling.
Anyone can bring in computers, cell phones, televisions, monitors, electronic office equipment and other items to Cal-green at no charge.
The business was started by Henry Jackson, Vicky Jackson and Duane Kamesch. Between the three of them, they estimated that they have over 15 years experience in the e-cycling business. They worked for the federal government as electronic recyclers before deciding to start their own business.
Cal-Green Recycling opened for business a little over a month ago. So far they have encountered the usual obsolete electronics, including laptops, desktop computers and random office equipment. They also had something out of the ordinary, a child's Barbie Jeep. The child-size vehicle had an electric motor and was eligible for e-cycling.
Jackson said that it wasn't the most unusual thing he has recycled. In their time as government employees, Jackson and Kamesch recycled everything from an auto pilot system of a C130 to military and IRS computers that required special clearance.
“We've done it all. Old two-way radios, old medical equipment, those Redbox machines that you can rent DVDs from,” said Kamesch.
Any newer electronics brought to Cal-Green are checked for working ability and refurbished if possible.
“That's the best way to recycle is to re-use,” Henry Jackson said.
All obsolete or broken electronics are broken down to their basic components. Some parts are sold to other recyclers for further processing, and others are sent strait to smelters who melt down the parts for the metals they contain. Even plastic components are recycled.
Cal-Green Recycling is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for electronic waste drop-off. They can also make pick-ups of larger items or bulk electronics. The business is located at 2474 Industrial Rowe. Their contact phone number is 668-1738.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.