Electronic Recycling Association- Recycling with a Difference

Electronic Recycling Association | Bojan Paduh | The Enterprise World

Over the last few years there has been a tremendous increase in the electrical and electronics market globally. And as this market is set out to grow exponentially, the other side of it is that the lifespan of the products is becoming shorter and shorter. This has become a new challenge for the officials, the e-waste management. Many organizations have been working relentlessly towards this, to reduce the percentage of e-waste. These stints have received considerable attention from the policy members and appropriate steps are being taken to solve this issue. 

Working for the greater good of the community, and in a staunch effort to give back more to the community is Electronic Recycling Association, featuring for The Enterprise World’s this issue of Enterprising Companies of the Year. 

The Company-  Electronic Recycling Association

Founded in the year 2004, Electronic Recycling Association or ERA is a non-profit organization actively addressing the growing problem of e-waste and the ever-increasing ‘digital-divide’. For over a decade the company has been offering simple solutions to support the individuals and organizations to prevent the operational equipment from premature destruction. 

With a focus on recovery, refurbishment and reuse, ERA continuously supplies charitable groups with donated IT equipment while securely managing the retiring IT assets of organizations and individuals across Canada. 

“We believe that reuse before recycling is critical in managing the waste created by computer hardware.”

Electronic Recycling Association offers industry-leading data destruction for all the equipment they receive, which is then securely repurposed for further use. And not all the products can be repurposed, ERA has partnered with several certified recycling organizations to process this equipment which has reached the end of its productive life. Through effective management of retiring electronic and IT equipment, ERA is focused on reducing the unnecessary waste and/or environmental impact. 

“As a non-profit organization with deep community roots, it is our “reuse” focus and donation activities that set us apart from others in this sector.”

A Fascinating Journey- Electronic Recycling Association

Electronic Recycling Association was founded by Bojan Paduh when he first moved to Canada. Having emigrated from Croatia in 1996, the limitations didn’t allow them to bring much of their things. Shortly after they settled, the church group of which his family was a part of gave him a computer. 

“This seemingly small gift had an immeasurable impact on my life.”

Armed with this precious piece of technology, Bojan began to learn the art of computer science. This gave him the access to information at the click of a button. Not to forget, the super ability to complete all his school assignments that really stood out.  

Later on, on a trip to a landfill, he noticed that there were a lot of computers that were being dumped. And these were not the completely worn out computers, but the ones that still had the potential to be reused. 

“I was surprised that people would just throw away working technology, and so I started collecting those dumped computers and fixing them up.”

It all started out as a hobby, where Bojan would pick up repairable computers and fix them. In the process, he quickly discovered that people were really willing to use these computers, that they needed them. 

Thus, started the journey of Electronic Recycling Association. 

“I formed the Electronic Recycling Association because I saw a great need for better management of the waste created by electronics. The other reason is that I know, from personal experience, how much a donated computer can mean to a family who can’t afford to purchase one.”

Their Suite of Services- 

Dedicated to reducing the electronic waste through reuse and recycling, the company’s service ranges from recycling of unwanted computers, laptops and other related electronic equipment. They ensure the effective management of retiring electronic and IT equipment. They also offer pick up services, donation services and buyback services. And in a much more advanced way, their arsenal of services also includes- 

Data security measures, data wiping, hard drive shredding

Computer donation services, computer recycling

Depots in major Canadian cities and USA 

ERA- The Complete Process-

Surprisingly, only 20% of the world’s e-waste is properly recycled. This leaves millions of tonnes of batteries, motherboards, and OLEDs forgotten in landfills across the globe. In many cases, some of the world’s lowest-paid workers find their way into these landfills to mine the precious metals from the computing components. Continual exposure to lead and mercury makes this form of renegade mining a dangerous and potentially deadly profession.

Throughout the evolution of technology, production and adoption have outpaced the ethical and regulatory progress. The average consumer is forced to calculate the cost-benefit of pollution in almost every electronic purchase they make – these goods contribute to the gravest Pandora’s Box. 

Therefore, what can be done? Given the rapid adoption of the smartphone-enhanced lifestyles, we find ourselves at another crossroad. On average, each one of us potentially contributes one new phone annually to the world’s e-waste supply. This is not inclusive of countless and now obsolete dongles, adapters, and peripherals. 

“I believe the magnitude of this problem requires active participation in the solution.”

Through advocation and education of the public on the topic of e-waste, the ERA has become one of Canada’s leaders in the fight against e-waste and the cultivation of environmental sustainability.  

Without necessary tools like a laptop or a cell phone, millions of people around the world are forced to thrive outside the new economy. Only through attentive action by electronic device producers and consumers will the true work begin. 

Bojan’s vision for the birth of the Electronic Recycling Association in 2004 was to give promise to the future and empower millions of lives through recycling and reuse. 

Governments must explore the “reuse first” approach to retired equipment. We live in a “consumption-based” economy and there are many reasons organizations choose to retire their equipment. Leveraging new features, functions or capabilities is one – taking advantage of vendor incentives to buy more is another. 

As such, a significant volume of retiring equipment is still functional and represents productive use to others. Why route functional equipment for end-of-life destruction-based recycling if it is not at the end of life?

Reuse is the most ecological approach to this growing waste stream. It also provides opportunities for individuals or organizations in need of critical support for their success. 

With Electronic Recycling Association, Bojan is dedicated to the mission and the broader goal of providing underprivileged communities with the equipment they desperately need. With drop-off locations and pick-up services across North America, the ERA continues to provide a meaningful way for organizations and individuals to deal with their equipment in a safe and secure manner up to NAID standards.

The active involvement of consumer electronic producers is a key area in which the wider environmental sector’s philosophy seems to differ from the electronics producers themselves. Unfortunately, many of the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) – or the VARs (Value Added Reseller) – are often those selling the equipment and view reuse as a threat to new sales.

“Only by restructuring a better lifecycle will we see a future free of waste where every citizen is empowered to join the digital economy.”

This consumption-driven economy and the relentless pursuit of growth, unfortunately, prioritises financial achievement over sustainability. This is not only inherent to the technology sector, but there are also numerous cases in other industries where companies would prefer to see their functional goods be put to waste. 

The Road to Greener Tomorrow- 

ERA’s Same Day Pick Up: 

The Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) is excited to announce their newest promotion to make disposing of your laptops, tablets, and cell phones as fast and convenient for you as possible.

Simply fill out the online form and attach a photo of your devices. Once approved, package the items in a sealed box or bag, wiping down surfaces with disinfectant. Electronic Recycling Association will then send a driver to pick up your package. You’ll get notifications providing instructions on how to help ensure a smooth pickup and when your driver is arriving. 

With a focus on recovery, refurbishment, and reuse, Electronic Recycling Association continuously supplies charitable groups with donated IT equipment while securely managing the retiring IT assets of organizations and individuals across Canada. 

“As a non-profit organization with deep community roots, it is our “reuse” focus and donation activities that set us apart from others in this sector.”

Electronic Recycling Association Shipping Label: 

Another new addition in their existing services is the promotion to make disposing of your laptops, tablets, and cell phones as fast and convenient for you as possible. Simply fill out the online form and attach a photo of your devices. 

Once approved, Electronic Recycling Association will email you a shipping label that you will print and attach to your package. Lastly, the team will also advise you as to when the courier is scheduled to pick up your package to ensure you are available.

“The decisions to make today have the potential to drastically affect the supply chains of tomorrow.”

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