Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

The Importance of Solar Panel and PV Management Equipment Recycling – AltEnergyMag

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Solar panels contain hazardous materials. If they get into our landfills, our environment and our entire ecosystem will be effected. In our industry, solar panels been considered to be part of the “last mile” of electronic waste that needs to be responsibly recycled.

The Importance of Solar Panel and PV Management Equipment Recycling

Q&A with John Shegerian, Chairman & CEO | ERI

Tell us about yourself, what are your ideas for a mission?

I’m a serial impact entrepreneur, today serving as the Chairman and CEO of ERI. ERI is the largest responsible electronic waste recycling company in North America. We also are the largest hardware data destruction company in North America. So we take care of the people of North America, the planet, and privacy. Our mission is both environmental and cybersecurity-focused as well.

Why focus on electronics?

When we got into this business approximately 20 years ago, electronics were then the dark side of the technological revolution because unwanted e-waste was being disposed of in landfills or shipped to emerging economies such as India, China, or Africa. 

Bad and potentially catastrophic outcomes could happen when it comes to irresponsibly dumping electronics into landfills. Most electronics contain hazardous waste such as cadmium, beryllium, lead, arsenic, mercury and more. Typically, the liners of the landfills have holes in them. These hazardous materials that are contained in electronics, once rained upon, get into the ground and water supply and eventually make their way into the vegetation, then animals, and eventually to human beings. So it negatively affects the entire ecosystem. 

When our old electronics are shipped off of our shores to emerging economies, again, bad outcomes happen. Typically that includes not having the right tools to responsibly recycle the old electronics, which also means the plastic carcasses are burned to make way for the precious metals to be recovered and sold. The plastic burning throws off hazardous and toxic plumes of smoke. That’s horrible for the environment and also for the people that live in these communities. 

Also, in many instances, underaged workers – children – are co-opted into this process without the appropriate protective gear and tools. So there’s human rights violations happening as well. 

Thirdly, there is a cybersecurity issue. Many times when our old electronics are sold to the highest bidder off our shores, the people buying those electronics have adverse interests to either our homeland security, or they’re using data-bearing electronics and hard drives to pull data from to create ransomware or some other attack against individuals, organizations, cities, states, municipalities, and publicly traded or privately held companies in North America.

All three outcomes can be the result when electronics are not responsibly recycled on our shores in the United States within a reasonable proximity from where they were generated. 

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Source: https://www.altenergymag.com/article/2022/08/the-importance-of-solar-panel-and-pv-management-equipment-recycling/37708

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