By Hailey Colbrunn.
As a growing awareness about the world’s garbage crisis increasingly permeates news outlets and social media platforms, the recycling industry is feeling the responsibility to become part of the solution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans generated about 254 tons of waste in 2013, and only 34.3 percent of that was recycled.
The facts and figures connected to U.S. behaviors and perceptions about recycling indicate a high awareness of paper and plastic recycling; however, what many people don’t know is that electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest-growing portion of the trash stream in the U.S. Of the 2.37 million tons of e-waste created in 2009, only 12.5 percent was recycled, says the EPA. That includes televisions, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, fax machines, tablets, computers and more.
As President and CEO of Westech Recyclers, Tracey Haslam is leveraging her position to educate businesses and people across the state about electronics recycling. She is working to set an example, and help develop systems and processes for a field that is in need of improvement.
“As a strong woman leader in the math and science field, it was important to show my two girls that you can be a strong woman in the math and science field,” said Haslam. “I really wanted to have a job that they would be proud of and to set a good example for them… [a job] that was close to home and reflected the values that I wanted for the family. So that’s how I got into recycling.”
Haslam’s experience and background working in the technology, product management, and business development industries bring strength and innovation to one of the oldest and largest recycling firms in the Southwest.
Full-service Certified Electronics Recycling Company
Westech Recyclers is a full-service certified electronics recycling company located in Phoenix, which serves businesses across the state of Arizona and throughout the Southwest. The company provides recycling services for electronic equipment which includes demanufacturing of the products into individual materials as well as preparing products for their implementation back into the electronics market.
“We do break down stuff to steel, to plastic, to copper, but if there’s a way we can harvest some value and reintroduce it into the market, that’s the best way,” says Haslam. Parts are reused to bring function back to equipment and electronics, which can then be sold at the company’s store or to other buyers. “We get a lot of laptops in from businesses that are just three years old, so they’re done with them and they upgrade. Well, they are still perfectly good laptops,” explains Haslam. “Reuse would be the best option to give them a second life in the market… maybe even a third life in the market.”
As the company grows and continues to educate businesses and the community about electronics recycling, Haslam anticipates developing new technology and strategies. “I’m a techie. I want to set an example for my kids. I want to do math and science and try new stuff… take an industry that’s ripe for improvement and improve the heck out of it,” says Haslam, “to make sure my kids get to live in a nicer world.”