What Happens to My Electronic Waste?

Here at eWaste Sonoma, we’re dedicated to making our world a better place. We make sure that nothing that passes through our hands ends up in landfills or in developing countries. We are committed to responsibly recycling electronics. But how exactly does that work? What is the process for recycling electronics? Here’s a step-by-step process of how recycling electronics happens.

1: The Drop-off

The whole thing starts with you, the most important part of the whole thing! You have to make the decision to recycle those old electronics to start the process. The drop-off is free for you with a few exceptions (see What We Accept for more information), so this is really the easiest part. When you drop off your electronics at our facility, or have us come pick it up from your business, you’ve helped us make the world a cleaner place.

2: The Separation

Once we have the e-waste at our facility, it is separated out. Here, we decide whether any of the old electronics have some more life left in them and can be refurbished for upcycling, or if that dusty old record player has played its last album. If it’s got some life left in it, it’s refurbished and given a second life. If it looks like the piece can’t survive another run, it is either broken down by us here at eWaste Sonoma, or passed on to our partner in Southern California.

We can break down some of the eWaste here at our facility, but there’s simply too much e-waste for us to handle on our own. Those pieces that we can’t disassemble are sent to Corporate E-Waste Solutions, CEWS, where they are broken down further for recycling (https://www.cewsb2b.com).

3: The Breakdown

When we take apart electronic waste here at the facility, the pieces can be sold to either companies, individuals,  or the state. Some of it even ends up with local businesses in Sonoma County to help them get started! There are some things, though, that we just simply don’t have the equipment to break down. These pieces are then sent to the CEWS facility in Southern California.

At CEWS, all those complex parts that we can’t handle (yet) are broken down and compacted into blocks (plastic, metal, etc.). This separates out and organizes each material to be sold back to the companies that make new electronic devices. This ensures that nothing is sent to a landfill, and instead is given a new life, in a new device, for a new owner! This recycling process cuts down the need for companies to create new materials for electronics and saves our planet! No need to mine more metal for a computer if there is plenty of it available from old computers, right?

4: The Buy

As this whole process started with you, it’s only fitting that it ends with you as well. Remember those old electronics that we took for recycling? They’ve now found a home in a new device, or have been upcycled. The upcycled ones can be found at our facility, and are available to you or your business to buy. The ones that have been taken apart now have bits and pieces spread out in perhaps dozens of new devices sold in stores.

Who knows? Maybe you’ve bought a new device with a little piece of your old one in it.