Recycling is not just for aluminum cans, newspaper
October 9, 2011
By Christina Lords
If residents are looking to replace used pots and pans, old garden tools or aging aluminum ladders, Jeff Gaidjiergis will take them all — and then some.
Gaidjiergis, more affectionately known to some Newcastle residents as Mr. Scrappy, said most people have scrap metal, electronic waste and countless other odds and ends items that have been collecting dust around the house and they don’t even know they can be recycled.
“The most asked question I get is, ‘What else do you take?’” he said. “It’s all about just trying to educate people. Everyone of them who asks me that question has stuff stored up that I break down and recycle.”
As people make home improvements or update appliances, Gaidjiergis said many people don’t know where to turn to get rid of their metal and electronic waste or old items.
Mr. Scrappy Recycling can accept any item with metal or electronic components, including TVs, microwaves, computers and computer parts, heaters, industrial equipment, car parts, lawnmowers and more.
Gaidjiergis, a member of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, said he has been building a scrap recycling business for the past year by offering to pick up materials from residents’ homes for free.
His business coverage has grown from Everett to Tacoma, and includes residential and commercial pickups.
“Every time I’d go to the dump or just make a trip going to the Dumpster, I’d see all kinds of metal and wire — stuff that just doesn’t go away,” he said. “I always thought that there’s got to be a better way. My main goal now is to keep that stuff out of landfills.”
As more people across the globe become increasingly reliant on electronic products, limiting the amount of those appliances that go into the waste stream will become even more critical, said Rex Young, of Friendly Earth.
Friendly Earth, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle and also a member of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, holds several events every month to pick up electronic waste throughout the Seattle area.
Facilitating ways for residents to properly dispose of their ewaste can also eliminate harmful chemicals and hazardous materials from entering the environment and drinking water, Young said.
“A lot of people don’t really know why they need to recycle electronic waste,” he said. “They’re not aware of the contaminants associated with those products and toss them in the garbage.”
All items that are still functional that are picked up by Friendly Earth will be reused if possible. If they can’t be reused, all of the items are processed domestically and won’t be shipped overseas.
“We try to reuse any kind of product we can, because that’s the most obvious and most efficient way to recycle anything,” he said. “Some of the stuff we get is still in great condition. It’s still working, so we can help facilitate finding a new home for it.”
Some of the items donated benefit organizations like area homeless shelters, Young said.
What to know
Learn more about Friendly Earth at www.friendlyearth.org. Make an appointment for Gaidjiergis to pick up scrap metal or electronic items by calling 591-3320. See a list of products he collects at www.scrappyrecycling.com.