Okay, you’re right… as much as some of us at Zia would like to believe we are Olympic-caliber athletes, the truth is we are not. The only way we’ll make it to the Olympics is as spectators, or providing awesome content management consulting services. However, because of electronics recycling, our old hard drives—or parts of them—may be right in the middle of all the action in Japan, 2020. How is that so?


The story starts in our server room, which is also home to our electronics graveyard. As I rummaged through it for something, I pushed around old monitors, cables, hard drives, and laptops. I started to think, “Why do we still have all of this stuff?” Before long I was pulling all of the old equipment out and piling it up. So, I asked my daughter’s STEM teacher if they could use the old equipment, and they could not.


I shifted my focus from re-use to recycle. Eco-Cycle’s Center for Hard to Recycle Material (CHaRM) facility is equipped to recycle just about everything I came across in our electronics graveyard. They are also able to recycle hundreds of other non-electronics that you can’t recycle in curbside side recycling. This includes appliances, white foam block (styrofoam), mattresses, sneakers, and more.

With the help of a colleague, we loaded up our cars and drove the old equipment over to CHaRM. The staff and their electronics recycling partner, Blue Star Recyclers, helped us unload and sort our recyclables. 

Since hard drives were some of the items we were offloading we wanted to ensure they were property destroyed. As it turns out, CHaRM and Blue Star Recyclers offer hard drive shredding along with their electronic recycling services. Each of our hard drives were shredded and all that was left were tiny little pieces. 

As I watched the shredding—and yes, I’m such a geek that I took them up on their offer to let me watch—I inquired about where the pieces go and what happens to them. The bits and pieces of hard drives will be shipped to Wisconsin for processing. Some of the harvested materials that contain precious metals will likely be shipped to Japan for even more processing and where some of the metals harvested will eventually be used in… did you guess it? The Gold, Silver, and Bronze Olympic medals! So in a roundabout way, it’s likely that a little bit of Zia will be at the Japan 2020 Olympic games.


Did you know, according to a United Nations study in 2016, only 20% of the electronics in the world are disposed of properly? That’s staggering as you think about how the number of electronics in businesses and households continues to grow. After reducing electronics consumption as much as possible, check with your local government for recycling resources. For instance, some offer periodic recycling events. Do a quick search for electronics recycling in your area, and maybe a little piece of you could be headed to the Olympics as well!

As a result of electronics recycling, what exactly did Zia divert from landfills? Here’s the list.

  • 27 hard drives
  • 10 monitors
  • 8 laptops
  • 2 printers
  • Keyboards & mice
  • Computer cables
  • 2 desk phones
  • Paper shredder
  • Miscellaneous electronics
  • Microwave
  • Toaster oven
  • Styrofoam


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