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Continued: St. Anthony: Tech Dump mines treasure, jobs from electronic junk

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 9, 2014 - 6:42 PM

Said Dan Platta, a Cargill manager: “Cargill has three focus areas for community engagement in the Twin Cities, including education, nutrition and environment. Tech Dump parlays two of those, providing education and job skills to its employees as well as an environmentally friendly way for our employees to dispose of their unwanted electronics. Over the past two years, Cargill’s Tech Dump event has collected more than 40,000 pounds of electronics from our employees, and we are looking forward to another successful event this spring.”

Tech Dump is one of 217 collectors and 75 recyclers registered by the state collecting most of our electronic junk. A small but significant portion still ends up getting dumped illegally, said Garth Hickle, product stewardship manager with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Ben Johnson, a Tech Dump employee breaking down computer parts and expertly tossing each piece into its proper bin, said: “At one point in my life, I would have thought this is a bunch of junk. But it’s kind of like a puzzle and I figure it out. And now I know that one man’s junk is another’s treasure.”

Much of Minnesota’s e-waste collected by companies and government programs is hauled to large firms such as Materials Processing, Waste Management, Electronic Recyclers and others who segregate the toxic stuff for reprocessing and sell the aluminum, circuit boards, gold, silver, palladium, other metals and recyclables to smelters and other industrial concerns.

 

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144 • neal.st.anthony@startribune.com





 

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  • Tech Dump Executive Director Tom McCullough, left, spoke with Ben Johnson about the computer parts he was disassembling at the Tech Dump plant.

  • Johnson worked on disassembling computer parts. The consumer-electronics recycling service expects to double its revenue this year.

  • Ben Johnson sorted a disassembled computer’s pieces into boxes at the Tech Dump plant in Golden Valley.

  • Tech Dump employee Jim Johnson worked on laptop computers that eventually will be resold.

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