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. Roland Law, Charles Wolf, Greg Brackett, Calvin Olson, Bob Mattos, Pete Swentzel, Leon Leash and Alex put in long hours every week to properly refurbish or recycle the mountain of donated electronic waste.

Each day, 3,600 pounds of electronics are dropped off at Grey Bears e-waste recycling. The volunteer team works efficiently to process it all, 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,” Leon says.

Roland shared that he didn’t know anything about computers before volunteering. “I came to Grey Bears seven years ago wanting to know more about computers,” he remembers. Now he’s building his own. When asked if he uses computers often, Roland confided, “I mainly use my smartphone. But my wife uses our computer all the time!”

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.