Your Trash Is His Treasure: E-Structors Takes Electronic Recycling to a New Level

Image of the front of E-Structors electronics recycling facility

The U.S. Congress is finally catching on to what E-Structors company executives have known for almost a decade: that recycling electronic devices is not only good for the environment, it’s an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone who can do the job — and do it right.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) toured E-Structors at its Elkridge headquarters in July, right after introducing the Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act, legislation that will create competitive research grants for reducing the environmental impact of discarded electronic devices.
Sarbanes said recycling waste is a “win-win for our economy and our environment,” plus, he said, it makes U.S. companies “less dependent on foreign suppliers of minerals and other materials.”

Sarbanes and his congressional cohorts are just putting into legalese the tenets on which entrepreneur Mike Keough founded E-Structors, an electronics recycling company that securely destructs electronics, computers and documents for both the public and private sectors.

A pioneer when he began E-Structors in 2003, Keough now acknowledges that his industry has become very competitive. But, he says, it’s still a new field. He estimates there are perhaps a dozen bona fide electronics recycling companies across the country — and many more that bill themselves as the genuine article but fall far short in their actual process.

‘A Lot of Misinformation’

E-Structors has received two key certifications that set it apart from its competition: a Responsible Recycling certification, which is an Environmental Protection Agency-guided set of standards, and an ISO:14001:2004, a catalog number that designates the International Organization for Standardization principles on environmental management.

E-Structors is the only electronics recycling firm in the mid-Atlantic to hold both these certifications. It’s a signal to clients that the company is doing its job responsibly, said Keough. “There is a lot of misinformation out there,” he said, and, because of this, a key part of his job is to educate his customers on why recycling electronics matters.

“We invite clients to visit our facility and make an informed decision. We are setting the bar very high.”

Mike Keough

President of E-Structors, Inc.

Considering that up to three-quarters of the heavy metals in landfills come from electronics equipment, it’s an issue that’s not going away anytime soon. “We invite clients to visit our facility and make an informed decision,” he said. “We are setting the bar very high.”

Just how does E-Structors recycle electronics?

First, the company collects and transports materials from a client’s workplace to E-Structors’ 187,000-square-foot processing facility. Then, an on-site destruction system shreds the electronic material into pieces no larger than 1.5 inches, rendering all critical or sensitive data irretrievable. An on-site paper destruction system pulverizes documents into pieces smaller than half an inch, again making it impossible to retrieve information. Clients then receive a Certificate of Destruction or a Certificate of Recycle.

In a world where government agencies and private corporations store huge amounts of personal data about their employees electronically, and in which the computers storing that data turn obsolete within a few years, securely disposing of information becomes a complex challenge.

- Full Story -