Depositing electronics in landfills has been illegal since June 2011, but many people continue to do it anyway, according to Mike and Pam Kershner of Southern Environmental Solutions of the Carolinas.
Televisions are the biggest offenders, the Kershners said. “The amount of TVs that you get is mind boggling when you think about [it],” said Pam, who is the SESOTC president.
“The hardest thing is educating people,” Mike, the company’s chief operations officer, said. “The mindset is like if something breaks, you throw it in the trash and that’s the end of it. But these articles you can’t thrown in the trash anymore.”
E-cycling is crucial for a healthy environment, according to SESOTC’s website. “Electrical waste contains hazardous but also valuable and scarce materials,” the site states. “Up to 60 elements can be found in complex electronics. Recycling raw materials from end-of-life electronics is the most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem. Most electronic devices contain a variety of materials, including metals that can be recovered for future uses. By dismantling and providing reuse possibilities, intact natural resources are conserved and air and water pollution caused by hazardous disposal is avoided. Additionally, recycling reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of new products.”
SESOTC, in Peachland since June of 2012, has a mission to convert e-waste through either refurbishment of the items or recycling the materials for possible reuse. “We do refurbishing if we get computers in that can be refurbished,” Pam said. “One of the main goals of our company is to give back, for instance, to 501c organizations that need computer labs set up, churches. That’s one of the main reasons we picked Anson County, because it’s the number two most distressed county in the state. There’s a great need not only for the jobs but also for having things available, like the computers.”
Mike and Pam recognized security concerns individuals and companies may have about recycling electronics that have sensitive data, including computers, scanners and other equipment. “If you drop a computer off your hard drive is removed and then it is wiped to Department of Defense standards,” Pam said. “You are given a certificate of destruction with the serial number on it.”
In addition to donating to 501c organizations, SESOTC has five eBay stores it sells refurbished electronics on, one of the ways the company makes money and that the electronics are kept in use. “It’s what true recyclers do,” Mike said.
Sam Dawkins, the recycling coordinator for Anson County, has been one of SESOTC’s biggest supporters, according to Pam. “He has been such a helping hand to us,” Pam said. “He’s great to have around. We’re very pleased with what we’re able to do for him. When we first came there was a 53-foot trailer that was up steps.”
The steps made it inconvenient for e-cyclers dropping off large televisions and other electronics, according to Mike.
The company picks up electronics from landfills, with televisions making up at least 75 percent of the electronics, according to the Kershners. Rather than illegally throwing them away, the Kershners encourage individuals to bring discarded electronics either directly to SESOTC or to a drop-off at the landfill. The drop-off container is at ground-level, making it easy for people to drop off larger electronics, according to Pam. For certificates of destruction, electronics must be taken to the office.
SESOTC is located at 895-A East Passaic St. in Peachland. For more information on e-cycling, contact SESOTC at 704-272-0154 or email@example.com.