DAVENPORT, Iowa - As consumers buy new gadgets and residents toss their old electronics to the curb, the holiday season becomes one of the busiest times of the year at Scott County's Electronic Demanufacturing Facility.
"We do see a spike this time of year," said Bryce Stalcup, the Scott County Waste Commission's Recycling Operations Manager.
On December 19, Stalcup gave News 8's Ryan Jenkins a tour of the place your unwanted electronics end up after being tossed to the curb.
He explained how electronic recycling can protect both the environment and the identity of the consumer.
"Were looking for items that may contain hazardous components or data," said Stalcup.
In boxes throughout the warehouse, everything from cell phones, to computers and printers, and old re-chargeable batteries were waiting to be processed.
Stalcup said most of the stuff brought in as trash is actually refurbished and sold online.
The money earned helps to keep the facility open and operating and helps keep resident user fees low.
The facility has an important role in processing the things that are unable to be refurbished.
"A lot of heavy metals is typically what we are concerned with," said Stalcup. "Our goal is to keep as much as we can out of the landfill in order to protect our local waterways, our streams, the environment, and not only our staff but, the community in Scott County and beyond."
As teams of people broke apart old televisions, pulled from the bottom of the Mississippi River, and other e-waste picked up curbside, Stalcup explained how different metals, plastics and other commodities are ripped out - along with dangerous elements like lead and mercury.
Stalcup also said many people don't realize electronic recycling can also protect the identity of the people who tossed their old gadgets in the trash.
He said E-recycling is a form of cyber-security.
"You hear about all the credit card numbers and everything being stolen, you really need to make sure you`re being responsible with any data that you have," said Stalcup.
Machines shred hard-drives that may have stored sensitive data.
Scott County's facility is the only public facility in the world to be R2 certified.
That means they have been certified by a third-party at "responsible recyclers" and go through the checks and balances to prove it.
"If a criminal did get ahold of this (hardware that has been shredded) there`s no way that they could recover any data from this," Stalcup said.
The facility is also a place to take used and unwanted Christmas lights so that they can be properly disposed of, as well.
It's a tucked-away recycling facility going beyond paper and plastic to keep the environment safe this Holiday season.
The facility is located at 1048 East 59th Street in Davenport.
Here's more about the Electronic Demanufacturing Center: