Have you ever wanted to watch a hard drive get shredded in seconds, see a box of RAM that was 800 pounds, or wander through a 100,000 square foot grave yard of electronics? So did we, and our tour of Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery was just that. RCR&R is one of the major electronics recyclers in the Rochester area, and we were lucky enough to get a tour of their facilities. They outlined the process from beginning to end of how a computer is received, processed, parted out, and eventually recycled.
A group of us were guided around the RCR&R facility after learning about the organization. Vice president Charlie McKernen teamed up with client service representative Tom Smith to show us the facility, answer our questions, and keep us on track when our attention strayed to the many items sitting on the giant shelves. One of the first stops was a hard drive shredder which chopped through the devices like butter, leaving just a pile of scraps after a few sparks. We walked by workers parting out the computers, placing each into a corresponding box that would eventually be shipped out for recycling by a facility specifically designed to process that part. Charlie was able to easily answer our questions on degaussing and secure hard drive wiping methods, and they all seemed to be up to speed on the latest compliance requirements and best practices when it came to security.
The tour happened on the same day that the Democrat and Chronicle published an article discussing a New York State law touting a state wide, free e-waste recycling program. Passed in May, the law will make electronics manufacturers responsible for the waste generated when a computer is recycled. Current NYS law allows computers to be thrown out as part of your regular trash, leaking contaminants into the ground. Hazardous metals like lead and mercury, and the chemicals that make plastics flame retardant can cause damage to the environment. The new law aims to get consumers recycling their old electronics by offsetting the cost back to the manufacturers.
You can visit the RCR&R website for more information about their facility and services, and be sure to check out their Electronics Cafe eBay store if you're interested in seeing all of the fun stuff they have for sale.
EDIT: Their facility is 100,000 sqft in Victor and their Central Ave. location is 20,000 sqft.