Recycling It Right
In a world contaminated by illegal outsourcing, Asset Recovery Corporation recycles old computers and electronics right.
A perennial generation of the newest, latest and greatest in technology has the United States swimming in old electronics. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, people in the United States discard about 130,000 computers every day, and more than 100 million cell
phones per year. It's called e-waste, and it is the fastest-growing municipal solid waste stream in the world.
In Minnesota, residents are required by law to recycle old computers. But not all recyclers can be trusted to properly disassemble and recycle electronics. Some companies will collect old electronics on site, then ship the items illegally overseas to be disassembled by
children in some of the world's most impoverished places. The cadmium, lead and mercury within these electronics are extremely hazardous and can cause health problems ranging from lead poisoning to a variety of cancers.
Marshall Johnson, CEO of Asset Recovery Corporation in St. Paul, says the social and environmental implications of choosing the wrong electronics recycler can be devastating.
"If you don't choose a proper recycler, you could be supporting having children dismantle these electronics improperly in a Third-World country. If you think, 'I'm sending this off to China, I'm okay,' well, it all gets burnt. It goes into our atmosphere, and it's going to
come down as acid rain," Johnson says. "The other fact is that if a company's intellectual property, or brand, is on a computer that gets discarded improperly -- say it ends up in Africa -- and a government agency finds that, they will say [your company] is not doing the
A leader in IT disposal solutions, Asset Recovery Corporation helps businesses discard their unneeded electronics in a way that is safe for companies, other countries and the environment. The company refurbishes or disassembles and recycles 100 percent of the materials it
receives, often remarketing used computers for up to 60 percent less than the cost of buying new.
As businesses face rising concerns over data security -- particularly due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy regulations on health records -- Marshall says his company takes every precaution to guarantee secure data destruction via Department of
Defense-created software programs. For companies that do not want any data to leave their building, Asset Recovery Corporation uses its mobile hard drive destruction unit to wipe hard drives clean at off-site locations. Once hard drive data is eliminated, Asset Recovery Corporation
uses a third-party company to validate that all data is gone.
In February, Asset Recovery Corporation achieved data destruction certification from the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID). NAID is widely considered the industry's gold standard for secure data destruction and requires an extensive and ongoing auditing
process to ensure compliance. Asset Recovery Corporation is the only company in Minnesota that is fully NAID certified for both plant-based and mobile data destruction.
According to an EPA calculator estimate, Asset Recovery Corporation's dedication to reusing and recycling is the rough equivalent of taking 22,000 cars off the road each year. The company stays true to its mission of environmental stewardship within its facility as well. From
office furniture and computers to phones and forklifts, almost everything in the facility is reused.
"We have a culture of reuse, and that is catching on in America," Johnson says. "You realize when you come here that it is a disposable economy. We have a different desk in every office. That is how we protect the environment."