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Keep those old electronics out of the landfill and get paid

By: 21 December 2010 One Comment

Technology changes in a hurry and that leaves us with a problem — we want the latest and greatest stuff, but what do we do with those old cell phones, MP3 players, video game consoles and other electronics that we replace?

Conrad B. Melancon — president of Merritt Island, Fla.-based eRecycling Network — thinks he has the answer. His company offers people the chance to send in their old electronic devices and make a few bucks in the process. That’s right — eRecycling network is paying for those obsolete electronics and will even pay the shipping to cover the costs of shipping.

Of course, there’s a bit of a catch here. Melancon said his company is primarily interested in items that it can refurbish and sell in lots. That means that the old TRS-80 Color Computer that’s lurking in your basement might not bring in a lot of money, but that MP3 player that still works well but pales in comparison to the latest whiz-bang Apple iPod Touch might be.

Melancon said eRecycling will still cover shipping on items that the company can’t refurbish and resell. At least those items will stay out of the landfill, you’ll make a little money for the time you spend packaging them.

Besides, Melancon said some items that are very outdated are refurbished and turned over to abuse shelters, schools and other groups that can find uses for them. Those items that are so obsolete that they’re beyond hope, however, are stripped of precious metals and parts that can be sold — the rest of the material is smelted down and recycled.

In that regard, eRecycling certain acts as one of those “green” companies that’s doing its part in helping the planet. It’s also engaged in another exercise designed to make the world a bit better — assisting organizations with raising money for charitable giving.

Melancon said a number of civic organizations, trade groups and other associations that have given mightily to charities in the past are facing the same economic pressures of which most of us are familiar. Their philanthropic efforts have declined along with their revenue, and Melancon said eRecycling stands ready to help.

He said eRecycling is working with groups to put together collections drives — an organization with a large number of members and a lot of friends in a community stands to bring in a lot of electronics that can be sold back to Melancon’s company. The money raised from those efforts can help an organization get back on track with its charitable giving, thus reaping the obvious benefits of gaining a reputation (and the public relations boost) for doing the right thing.

Melancon said he believes his company — and a lot of communities — will benefit from working with groups wanting to raise money for charities through electronics drives.

“If you tie an environmental cause to a non-profit cause, there’s a lot of strength in that,” he said.

To encourage nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations to collect all the electronic items they can, eRecycling will pay those groups at least 50 cents for items that it can’t refurbish and resell.

Melancon said his company is still in its infancy, having only been around for a few months. However, he worked in the electronics industry for 17 years and spent another six years running recycling efforts. Merging those two backgrounds, Melancon, said just makes sense.

As for electronic items that eRecycling will not accept, Melancon said his company avoids tube monitors and televisions as those are next to impossible to sell and paying for shipping on those bulky things is very expensive. What kind of items does eRecycling accept? Here’s a list go give you a good idea:

* Cell Phones
* Laptop & Tablet Computers
* MP3 Players
* GPS & Gaming Systems
* Digital, Video & Still Cameras
* Camera Lenses
* Digital Book Readers
* Flat Panel Monitors

Ready to start donating? Just click here to start entering your items at eRecycling Network to see how much they’re worth and follow the directions from there. Melancon said in order to make sure people get paid for what their old items are worth, packing them well so they don’t get damaged during shipping is essential.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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