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Old Printers Welcomed at Retroworks de Mexico

Electronics, Legislation & Regulations, International Recycling News, Additional Commodities

Women’s co-op plant will accept used printers for disassembly, materials tolling.

February 27, 2009

The Mexican subsidiary of Vermont-based American Retroworks Inc. (ARI) is accepting obsolete printers for dismantling and recycling.

 

The company is emphasizing printer recycling at its Retroworks de Mexico facility near Esqueda, Sonora, Mexico. Hand disassembly, parts salvaging, and limited reuse will take place at the plant, which is set up as a women-s co-op. The women who are part of the cooperative will own 50 percent of all profits and control hiring and recruitment at the plant, according to Robin Ingenthron, president of ARI.

 

Ingenthron says printers have been known to present challenges for recyclers. “Used printers and laser printers are the fastest growing component of the electronics waste stream,” he comments. “Shredding leads to ‘fluff’ and ruined plastic [while] cartridge design turnover limits reuse and repair.”

 

He continues, “They are not particularly heavy. They are not particularly valuable. They don't shred very nicely. And they are slow to de-manufacture by hand.” But for a facility looking for material, “they are just what the doctor ordered,” says Ingenthron.

 

ARI is accepting the printers at 5 cents per pound at its facility in Douglas, Ariz., where the material will be prepared for customs preparation for the plant in Mexico. ARI will also offer services as a tolling facility, allowing other United States- based recyclers to own or control the plastic and metal from the operation, with rates negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

 

The facility will follow all U.S. EPA R2 standards, says Ingenthron. He adds that the facility in Mexico is permitted, insured and legal.

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