(KTSF by Jessie Liang)
Burlingame, CA – James Kao immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the 1970s. Kao worked with Oracle, HP and other high-tech companies for about 20 years. Once he watched a TV program and learned that 80% of electronic wastes around the world were sent to developing countries. He then decided to start his e-waste recycling business in 2003.
Kao says, “For example, when you go to a school parking lot, or AT&T park to drop-off your obsolete computer, your stuff may get recycled but you don’t know where your computer would finally wind up.”
According to Kao, there were over 450 million units of obsolete electronics stockpiled in the U.S.. By 2008, it’s estimated that the U.S. alone will have generated 1.5 billion units of unused electronics. When those potential e-wastes are dumped in developing countries, it could create many environmental and health problems. “Because the developing countries don’t have proper laws to protect the environment and people, and their citizens also lack awareness of saving the environment. So when you decompose a computer or a TV, it would release some toxic chemicals that would harm the environment and their workers,” said Kao.
Kao says that he will make sure that those electronic wastes are disposed in California because California has tougher regulations on e-waste recycling. Besides, he also uses a system called “GreenCitizen Total Accountability Management System” to track recycled electronic products’ brand name, model number, series number, and year-made level. “Hope we can build up an environmental stewardship with manufacturers by providing those data and encourage them to recycle their products as well,” said Kao.
Kao also donates his part of his profits that are generated by e-waste recycling to schools and education. In addition, his four recycling centers in the Bay Area now also offer free recycling for large household appliances. “Hope my customers could learn more why recycling electronics wastes is so important and take their responsibility to save the environment,” said Kao.
For their e-waste drop-off centers in the Bay Area, please visit www.greencitizen.com.
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