South Florida non-profit recycles electronics

10 million pounds of electronics is dumped in landfills every year

MIRAMAR, Fla. - Getting a new computer for Christmas? Don't throw your old one in the trash. 

ARC Broward Electronics Recycling, a non-profit organization based in Sunrise, will recycle your electronics for you.

It doesn't take long for treasure to become trash in the computer age. 

"We get about between two and three million pounds per year," said ARC Broward Electronics Recycling Director Andrew Sky.  

ARC is glad to take those old electronics off your hands and keep them out of landfills. 

Solid waste experts say old tube TVs are mostly made from lead and circuit boards contain arsenic. 

"There's about 30 different hazardous materials that are in these electronics. What happens is if they are not properly recycled or they end up in the landfills, those materials end up leaking into the groundwater and can contaminate groundwater," said Sky.

ARC tries to make it easy by scheduling drop-off events around Broward County. They also do pick-ups.

A recent event was held at Spirit Airlines in Miramar, where the company is getting rid of printers, computers, and monitors. 

"It works out great. We give them a call and they show up to help take it away for us and it helps us out and it helps out the environment, which is something that is very important to us," said Spirit's Misty Pinson.

In Fort Lauderdale, it didn't take Tim Singer long to collect two conference tables full of outdated equipment at his real estate office. 

"We did a Facebook blast and we also did an email blast. Other realtors from other companies called their customers and they brought things over," said Singer.

Back at the ARC warehouse, workers destroy or wipe the hard drives of computers coming in to make sure information doesn't end up in the wrong hands. 

Money made from breaking down the devices and selling the pieces goes right back into the program, funding 16 jobs. 

"We train adults with disabilities and they get a chance to work along with us and they get a lot of training, and they get paid," said Sky.

Nationally, it's estimated more than three million tons of electronic waste is generated every year, but only 10 percent is recycled.  And 99 percent of a computer is recyclable.

Experts say 10 million pounds of electronics are dumped in landfills every year, releasing toxic materials into the soil, when the electronics could be recycled instead. 

Click here for more information about electronics recycling in Miami-Dade County.

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