EPA logo

The Truth About EPA ID Numbers

The Truth About EPA ID Numbers

If you have been looking around, you may notice that some electronics recyclers advertise the fact they have an EPA ID number.  What is it, and should it influence your decision for making a choice in electronic recycling centers?  I want to take a few minutes and explain what an EPA number is and what it means.  It seems a bit misleading when you look at the fancy symbol or hear someone tell you their facility has an EPA ID number.  It sounds like it means the site is ultra-environmentally friendly, but…

An EPA ID number is used to identify hazardous waste generators, transporters, treatment, and storage and disposal facilities.  It is not an endorsement of a clean, environmental facility, and the EPA does not issue certifications for electronics recycling.  The EPA uses the ID number as a way to keep track of the businesses that deal with hazardous waste.  When it comes to recycling electronics, none of it is considered hazardous waste in the State of Florida.  Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT’s) can be considered hazardous waste if they are collected stored beyond a certain amount of time.  If an electronics recycling center is collecting and storing CRT’s for an extended amount of time, they aren’t doing the right thing with them.  Some batteries must be managed as hazardous waste, falling under the universal waste regulations, but as long as they are not being stored for an extended amount of time it is not counted toward the facility being classified as a generator.  As far as electronics recycling goes, the following States are the only States that count electronics as Universal Waste: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey.

So why do some electronics recycling centers have an EPA ID number?  Maybe they don’t understand what it is.  Maybe they are storing material like CRT’s and batteries.  If they are storing material like that, are they really recycling and doing what you expect a recycler to do?  Finally, maybe they know that the majority of the public doesn’t understand what an EPA ID really means and uses this misperception as a marketing tactic.  I think most people would understand the EPA ID number to mean the facility is EPA certified, but as I mentioned, the EPA does not certify electronics recyclers.  Don’t let the deception fool you when you need to make a choice in an electronics recycling center.


View from the Garbage


So here I am, three months into my new electronics recycling business.  I feel like I am on the cusp of taking over Jacksonville, Fl and St. Augustine, FL.  I have these dreams of becoming the premier electronics recycling center in North Florida.  Heck, I want the Jacksonville, FL market to be my stepping stone to the South East.

I know, I am getting way ahead of myself.  Keep my feet on the ground.  Focus on computer recycling one day at a time.  I have my moments at least.  I haven’t had a chance to get out and market for three weeks now.  Things seem to be going pretty well, but…

Every Sunday evening, I ride my bike through my neighborhood with my family and I am reminded of the challenges I am faced with.  See, Monday is trash day and everyone puts their trash out on the curb Sunday evening.  Riding by I see all the electronics, computers, monitors, etc. in the trash.  Where it doesn’t belong!  Why?  Do people not know?  Is it easier to do the wrong thing?  I am reminded of how much work I need to do.

As someone trying to make my way on my own by trying to build an electronics recycling company, I am disheartened, but driven by all of the material I see in the trash.  How do I get these people to recycle their electronics instead of throwing them away?  How do I get them to care enough about destroying the data on their hard drives instead of letting enter the waste stream?  These are just a few of the questions I need to figure out how to answer in order to become a successful electronics recycling company.

So as I continue to grow and have the ability to increase my marketing budget, I want to reach out to more people.  I want them to know the problems old electronics create in landfills.  In a world where we are facing global warming, and finite resources responsibly recycling computer and electronics should matter.  They just don’t belong in the trash.  It’s easy for someone to say they care, but acting seems to be much harder.

Sensible Recycling was founded to make computer and electronics recycling easy.  If you live somewhere near Jacksonville or St. Augustine, call us.  We will come to you, free of charge.  Electronics don’t need to go in the trash, because we will pick them up.  Feel good as the electronics are responsibly recycled, you are helping keep the environment clean, and you are supporting a local business.

computer and electronics recycling

Reasons to Recycle Electronics


How recycling electronics can help preserve our future

Since I have started in business I have struggled with figuring out who and what my competition is and to develop strategies to compete against them.  I am finding that my biggest competition comes from the very customers that I am seeking to do business with.   I can say this because no one seems to know what to do with their old electronics other than throw them in the trash.  All of these obsolete, broken and discarded electronics are creating a real environmental problem.  So the biggest challenge I am currently facing is letting people know why it is important to recycle electronics, and not simply throw them in the trash.

Electronics are made up of metals, which are recyclable. Taking apart end-of-life electronics such as computers, and recycling the various materials in them promotes the conservation of undamaged natural resources. Also, it helps prevent water and air pollution that is brought about by improper disposal. It also helps in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of the manufacture of new electronics.

Having an obsolete computer or any other old electronics in the house is a common feature in many homes in the U.S. Millions of tons of used electronics such as televisions and computers are disposed of annually. This is why it is so important to educate people about the benefits of electronics recycling.

Electronics Recycling Conserves Natural Resources

Most of the metals on a circuit board can be recovered in the refining process. Because of this, there is less of a need to mine untapped natural resources.  Most of these recovered metals can be reused almost an infinite amount of times, which is very important considering how we treat our environment as well as considering the socio-economic climate in the countries some of these metals are mined in.

Electronics Recycling Supports the Community

Donating your old electronics plays an important role in job creation. Breaking apart electronics is a labor-intensive process and requires multiple workers to become efficient.  It also helps to provide awareness to a growing problem in the form of E-waste by spreading the message to the local community.  As a result of the awareness created, the demand for responsible electronics recycling increases and the local industry is forced to grow and hire as a result of the increased demand.

Electronics Recycling Helps Protect Public Health and the Environment

Many electronics have toxic or hazardous materials such as mercury and lead, which can be harmful to the environment if disposed of improperly. Reusing and recycling electronics safely helps in keeping the hazardous materials from harming humans or the environment. For example, old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and computer monitors are hazardous since they have lead in them. These CRT’s are a huge problem since they are costly to dispose of properly. Think of Flint, Michigan, no one wants those lead problems in their backyard.  Printed circuit boards also contain harmful materials such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and chromium. Computer batteries and other electronics may contain hazardous materials such as cadmium, mercury, and lead.

Next time you have old computers or electronics you need to dispose of, don’t throw them in the trash.  Find a company like Sensible Recycling that will come and pick up your old electronics and responsibly recycle them.

free electronics recycling service

Responsible Electronics Recycling

Responsible Electronics Recycling

I saw a statistic that blows me away: electronics make up 2% of the material in landfills but account for 70% of the toxins. Since I began my company, Sensible Recycling, I am amazed by the amount of people I meet that don’t know what to do with their old electronics. My neighbor across the street threw their old computer in the trash today, despite knowing what I do for a living. Are we killing ourselves because of our lack of understanding, or is it too difficult to do the right thing because electronics recycling isn’t accessible?

Recycling electronics is not like glass, paper, or plastic. You can’t just throw it in a bin and stick it on the curb. You have to horde it and wait for one of those community recycling days, or take it to a scrap yard. Even if you do that, do you know if your material is being recycled responsibly, and what is responsible recycling of electronics?

As the owner of an electronics recycling company, my definition of responsible recycling differs than that of many recycling companies out there. If you are throwing your electronics on the curb, I hope they don’t contain data. Your hard drive contains your entire online life, don’t let some guy in a pickup truck looking for scrap metal grab it. God knows where it goes from there. For the same reasons, don’t take your electronics to a scrap yard. Scrap yards recycle metal, and while they may take your electronics, you have no guarantee that it is being handled properly. Some other recycling company may buy that material to be processed overseas, or it may wind up being bought by company and handled properly. You just don’t know.

Find someone that is recycling, not refurbishing. I am biased on this point because I do not refurbish material. Granted some material I receive is reusable, and to that point it can and will be reused. I do not refurbish because it creates issues with lesser material. If you are solely looking for material to refurbish, then what happens to broken or obsolete material? Refurbishing also requires a lot of expense for various certifications and time to test products and load new operating systems. By not focusing on refurbishing, all material can be broken down to the base components, sorted and processed for outlets that are looking to recover the metals for reuse. Components that are reusable can be sold to someone that specializes in building, repairing, or refurbishing. This process allows for my company to recycle all electronics that come our way, even the ones that are unwanted elsewhere, responsibly. I don’t need special certifications that a refurbisher needs. I can also offer my services free of charge because I have less overhead. I also take care of the responsible side because I can use a certified downstream for some items, and send directly to a refiner for other items.

Another issue to consider when recycling electronics is making sure your data is destroyed. If you are getting rid of your computers at the local city or county waste department, they aren’t destroying your data. If you are taking your computers or other data containing items to the scrap yard, they aren’t destroying your data. If you are throwing away your old electronics, your data is definitely not being destroyed. It is the policy of Sensible Recycling to destroy all hard drive data, be it by sanitizing or physical destruction. We also provide serialized certificates of destruction for this service. We can do all of this free of charge because our overhead is low because everything is broken down and recycled.

All electronics recycling companies are not created equally. We all have our specialty, or niche. Some may charge, some may buy, or some can do it for free. It is our goal at Sensible Recycling to make recycling responsibly easy, accessible, and free. The important thing is to make sure your material is handled correctly.

For more information, contact us.

free electronics recycling event

Electronics Recycling Event

Free Electronics Recycling Event

Sensible Recycling will be hosting our first electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 18th and Reunion Bank in St. Augustine Beach, Florida.  Please come out and bring your old computer and electronics so we can recycle them properly.  We are also providing free on-site hard drive destruction to help keep your data safe and secure.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 904-327-3426 or contact us. Thanks!

Electronics Recycling Event

Electronics Recycling Event

hard drive recycling

Wiping your hard drive


Why reformatting will not destroy your data.

Reformatting may seem like the best way to erase your private data, but it isn’t.  It is fast, and it does seem to make your old data disappear if you try to find it again.  The problem is, your old data is still recoverable.  The process of reformatting your electronic media, like hard drives and flash drive, is nothing more than erasing the current file structure of everything on your disk and replacing it with with a new one.  Think of it like this: You have a file cabinet and all of your information is stored away in the correct files.  Imagine if you just dumped all your info out of the files and back into the cabinet and put your empty files back on top, ready to be filled again.  If you went looking for your old info in the new files, you wouldn’t find it because it is scattered about elsewhere in the cabinet.  Obviously, this is a simplistic way to look at it, but you should get the idea.  The information still exists, it is just harder to find.  The same is true of your hard drive.  Don’t expect your information to be erased when you reformat your hard drive.  There are programs that exist to recover reformatted data.  In order to permanently erase your data, you need to overwrite it or destroy it.

There are different levels of overwriting your data.  Sensible Recycling uses the latest methods of ATA Secure Erase and DoD 5220.22-m methods.  We do this by using multi-bay wiping stations.   Data is stored in binary code, which is a series of 1’s and 0’s.  When your drive is wiped by Sensible Recycling, all of your data rewritten with new 1’s and 0’s, sometimes multiple times.  After this process, your data is completely unrecoverable.  A simple dive format can not offer you this kind of data protection.  We can also physically destroy your hard drives, adding an extra layer of protection if you choose.  Remember, all of our services are free of charge.  So next time you are getting rid of your old computers, make the sensible choice and call Sensible Recycling to destroy your electronic data.


electronics recycling

Community Events

We can help bring awareness to your neighborhood and community by hosting an electronics recycling drive.  Help keep the environment clean by keeping the harmful products in electronics and computers out of the waste stream.  Save energy by recycling so the materials found in electronics can be reused to make new devices.  This is a great opportunity to help clean up your neighborhood.  We can be part of your HOA dumpster day.  Drive traffic to your business or organization, and help the environment at the same time.  Your customers will appreciate you for it.  Let’s help keep Jacksonville, St. Augustine and the surrounding North Florida communities clean.  Contact us to find out how we can get started today!