The Green Side of E-waste

While many of us have our eye on the newest iPhone or computer, a group of Grey Bears volunteers is more interested in the electronics we leave behind. Volunteers Greg Brackett, Calvin Olson, Bob Mattos, Pete Swentzel, Leon Leash and Alex, and staff members Jose and Jimmy put in long hours every week to properly refurbish or recycle a mountain of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, phones, TVs audio/video gear, computer gaming consoles, cables, connectors, power supplies and other donated electronic waste.

Each day, 3,600 pounds of electronics are dropped off at Grey Bears e-waste recycling center. The team works efficiently to process it, assessing items to be tested and refurbished, or disassembled and recycled. For refurbishing, a bit of tech experience helps. Starting as an electronics tech working back in the vacuum cooled computer days, Leon worked his way to become vice president of of a tech company. “The only skill volunteers really need is an interest in learning,” he says.

Approximately 15-20% of donated items are tested, refurbished and resold in the Grey Bears Computer Electronics Store, or listed online and sold on eBay or Craigslist. If you are interested in volunteering to test and repair donated electronics, please email Grace or call 831-479-1055 ext 241.

Grey Bears e-waste recycling is open every day, 7:30am-3:30pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day), 2710 Chanticleer Ave, Santa Cruz. For more information contact Tina Forest, tina@greybears.org, 831-479-1055 ext 235.