What Makes US Different
Makes US Better

It's about what we do AND how we do it.
From 100 percent onsite data sanitization to refurbishing and recycling, U.S. Micro’s closed-loop process reduces security risks, protects your company’s reputation and creates profit for customers. Whether you have one location or thousands, we only deploy U.S. Micro-trained technicians – not subcontractors – to your locations, every time, anywhere in the U.S. We safeguard the environment from e-waste using next generation technology; pay top dollar upfront for retired equipment; and support your charitable programs for donating IT equipment.

U.S. Micro Enters into Agreement with Macquarie Equipment Finance to Offer Customers IT Asset Disposition Services

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Enertia: Our proprietary, real-time technology

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White paper: Retiring IT Assets

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Checklist for ITAD Success

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Our Process Is The Difference.

IT Assets As Profit Center

Technology consulting company turns losing consignment arrangement into profit center with U.S. Micro Read Case Study »

Security IT Check List

Important security considerations for each step of the process. View Checklist »

In the News
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    U.S. Micro Enters into Agreement with Macquarie Equipment Finance to Offer Customers IT Asset Disposition Services

    U.S. Micro Corporation (www.usmicrocorp.com), a leader in enterprise data security and IT asset disposition (ITAD), today announced that it will be the exclusive provider of ITAD services to Macquarie Equipment Finance’s (MEF) North American customers. MEF, a business unit of the Macquarie Group, is a global provider of customized financing and IT asset management solutions for enterprises, technology manufacturers and suppliers.

    The agreement enables MEF customers to take advantage of U.S. Micro’s world-class capabilities, such as auditing, testing, onsite data sanitization and environmentally-responsible disposal.

    As part of the transaction, U.S. Micro has acquired the operation of MEF’s Dallas-area technical center that provides equipment refurbishing for enterprise-class IT assets. In addition, U.S. Micro has integrated technical center staff into its organization and, as a result, will benefit from highly- trained product management and certified engineering talent.

    “With facilities in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and the new ISO 9001-certified center near Dallas, U.S. Micro gains important competitive advantages through this transaction,” said Herb Biggers, chairman of U.S. Micro’s Board of Directors. “In addition, it gives us the technical expertise to process enterprise-class IT equipment for our customers who will also gain access to Macquarie’s full suite of IT leasing services.”

    “U.S. Micro was selected to provide services to Macquarie’s North American customers because of its market position, industry experience and the strategic benefits it will provide for Macquarie’s customers,” said Daryl Karczewski, senior vice president, Global Trading Sales, MEF.

    The deal is the latest strategic expansion move by U.S. Micro, which serves Fortune 500 companies and others in industries that demand the highest data security and environmental safeguards, including banking, financial services, health care and consulting.

    For more information, visit www.usmicrocorp.com.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. and with additional facilities in Georgia and Texas, U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    CONTACT:
    Matt Cochran, Cookerly Public Relations, 404-419-9235, matt@cookerly.com

    Thursday, November 01, 2012
    U.S. Micro Corp. Earns Data Security Standard Certification for Payment Card Industry

    U.S. Micro Corporation (www.usmicrocorp.com), a leader in enterprise data security and IT asset disposition (ITAD), today announced that the company gained the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification, which governs the handling of cardholder data. PCI DSS is the fourth certification U.S. Micro received this year.

    PCI DSS was awarded after an audit of internal controls and processes related to handling data on retired IT devices. U.S. Micro pursued the certification because sensitive payment card data could potentially be stored on numerous devices that it processes. The certification confirms that U.S. Micro manages these devices safely and in conformity with PCI standards.

    Other designations secured in 2012 include: Responsible Recycling (R2); ISO 14001:2004, which sets out the criteria for R2 certification; and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation, which relates to data elimination and information security. Additionally, U.S. Micro has been a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher since 2009 and is currently pursuing e-Stewards certification.

    U.S. Micro has aggressively pursued certifications in 2012 to highlight its high standards for data security and protecting the environment. Both SOC 2SM and PCI DSS are unique among ITAD vendors, demonstrating the company’s commitment to exceeding industry standards.

    “At U.S. Micro we are singularly focused on setting the highest standards for data security and environmental protections in the ITAD industry,” stated Jim Kegley, founder, president and CEO of U.S. Micro. “We go above and beyond our competitors because we fully appreciate the importance of safeguarding customer data and preserving the environment. Data breaches and environmental degradation are simply too costly to entrust retired IT equipment to a vendor without adequate controls and an established reputation to back them up.”

    Through an industry-unique process, U.S. Micro wipes data onsite at customer locations to Department of Defense (DOD) standards and delivers an electronic report verifying all data is destroyed. Additionally, only highly trained employees handle data, never third parties. For more information on U.S. Micro’s process and recycling services, visit www.usmicrocorp.com.

    U.S. Micro Corporation

    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next- Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2 and G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise) certified and also holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    CONTACT:
    Matt Cochran, Cookerly Public Relations, 404-419-9235, matt@cookerly.com

    Friday, September 28, 2012
    U.S. Micro Sponsors CFY - Atlanta’s Inspire 2012 Fundraiser for Third Year

    U.S. Micro Corporation (www.usmicrocorp.com), a pioneer and leader in the IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry, announced that it will be the presenting sponsor for CFY-Atlanta’s Inspire 2012 annual fundraiser on Sept. 28, 2012. CFY helps students in low-income communities, together with their teachers and parents, harness the power of digital learning to improve educational outcomes. Attendees of Inspire 2012 will learn about CFY-Atlanta’s work and celebrate the positive effect the organization is having on student academic achievement.

    CFY-Atlanta partners with local public middle schools to implement their Digital Learning Program, a whole-school/community partnership that supports 21st century learning. As part of the program, teachers are provided with tools and training on how to incorporate digital learning activities found on PowerMyLearning.com, CFY’s free K-12 learning platform, into classroom instruction and assignments to make learning more engaging and individualized; parents receive training on how they can become better learning partners with their children; and each family receives a free home learning center (broadband-ready computer pre-loaded with engaging educational content and links to PowerMyLearning.com) to take home and keep.

    By donating computers and laptops to CFY-Atlanta, U.S. Micro helps CFY-Atlanta cost effectively create home learning centers for distribution through their program.

    “U.S. Micro is a tremendous supporter of our organization, helping us impact more students, teachers, and families than ever before,” said Jeanne Artime, executive director of CFY-Atlanta. “Their ongoing financial support and donations of equipment are instrumental in allowing us to help people use digital learning as a tool for education and empowerment.”

    “We believe that technology can motivate and inspire younger generations,” Jim Kegley, founder, president, and CEO of U.S. Micro said regarding the company’s reason for supporting CFY. “We want more people to engage with technology and learn through it. That is what CFY is helping people in our community do.”

    U.S. Micro enables customers to donate a portion of their retired equipment to CFY through its computer donation program. For more information, visit www.usmicrocorp.com.

    U.S. Micro Corporation

    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Founded in Atlanta, Ga., U.S. Micro processes over one million assets annually, serving Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2 and G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise) certified and recently achieved the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    CFY

    CFY, a national nonprofit organization, is a leader in using digital learning to help children do better in school. CFY’s approach addresses the learning students do not only in their classrooms, but in all environments, including the home.  The organization is unique in that it operates both “in the cloud” (through PowerMyLearning.com, a free K-12 online learning platform) and “on the ground” (through its Digital Learning Program, a whole school initiative that works hands-on with all three of the constituents that impact student achievement: teachers, parents, and students). CFY’s PowerMyLearning platform recently received significant support from three of the nation’s most prominent funders: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Additionally, CFY’s Digital Learning Program has grown to be one of the largest programs of its kind, having served more than 50,000 families from over 100 high-poverty schools nationwide. The program has demonstrated significant impact on student achievement, student engagement, parental involvement, and broadband adoption. The Atlanta branch of CFY, CFY-Atlanta, has served more than 4,700 families within the greater-Atlanta community since 2007.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012
    U.S. Micro Corporation Adds R2 and ISO 14001:2004 Certifications

    U.S. Micro Corporation, a pioneer and leader in the IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry, today announced it received the Responsible Recycling (R2) certification and ISO 14001:2004 from Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc., a leading certification body offering a broad spectrum of certification services including those for Responsible Recycling (R2).  U.S. Micro earned both sought-after endorsements after undergoing an independent audit that evaluated and tested its policies governing waste management, data security, employee health and safety, public health and the environment, and its chain of custody processes.

    The R2 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications provide further validation of longstanding, industry-leading policies at U.S. Micro designed to secure data and protect the environment.

    "From day one at U.S. Micro, we made data security and the environment our most important priorities. Securing these certifications at our Atlanta facility was a way to reinforce what has already been standard operating procedure for us since our inception", stated Steve Bowen, Chief Operating Officer.

    Additionally, U.S. Micro recently received the prestigious SOC 2SM designation after an intensive examination of its processes related to data elimination; information security; disposition; electronic inventory counts; human resources; change management; and other criteria. U.S. Micro's pursuit of the designation was unique within the $5 billion ITAD industry.

    Regulatory requirements related to IT asset disposition are increasingly a concern for companies nationwide. The R2, ISO 14001:2004 certification and SOC 2SM designation are important credentials for U.S. Micro to assure customers that its disposition process is in full compliance with industry regulations, from Sarbanes-Oxley to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012
    U.S. Micro Supports Outlook Foundation

    U.S. Micro Corporation, a pioneer and innovator in the IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry, today announced its commitment to support The Outlook Foundation and its mission to provide refurbished computers to children in need and military families who might not otherwise have access to technology.

    "Supporting The Outlook Foundation is another example of how we empower communities through technology", said U.S. Micro founder, president and CEO Jim Kegley. "We are proud to help the foundation improve lives of others and look forward to working with them on future projects."

    The foundation aims to ensure that all children have access to technology to enhance their educational opportunities and prepare them to succeed in today’s economy. Computers provided to military personnel and their loved ones help bridge the communication gap during deployments.

    "The Outlook Foundation's relationship with U.S. Micro will allow us to greatly expand the reach of our program and touch many more lives", said John Iasiuolo, Outlook Foundation president and host of the Computer Outlook Talk Show.

    In addition to The Outlook Foundation, U.S. Micro supports numerous charitable organizations including CFY, Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and Blind Center of Nevada. U.S. Micro also established a computer donation program in 1999 to enable customers to donate a portion of their retired assets to organizations of their choice.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2012
    U.S. Micro Earns Prestigious SOC 2SM Designation

    U.S. Micro Corporation, a pioneer and innovator in the IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry, today announced it has achieved the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation. The company earned this coveted validation of its controls relevant to security, processing integrity and confidentiality after undergoing an intensive examination. Independent auditors evaluated and tested various U.S. Micro Corporation controls, including those related to data elimination; information security; disposition; electronic inventory counts; human resources; change management; information systems operations; and required COSO-level controls.

    The move by U.S. Micro to undergo a SOC 2SM examination is unique within the $5 billion ITAD industry.

    Jim Kegley, founder, president and CEO of U.S. Micro, said: "Our board of directors and management decided to pursue SOC 2 because U.S. Micro’s process and service offerings exceed the requirements of existing industry certifications and what our competitors offer. We wanted a highly respected third party to confirm what we offer customers. By earning this designation, we are raising the bar for IT asset disposition standards and vendors."

    A SOC 2SM, Type II examination is intended to help a broad range of stakeholders understand a company’s internal controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SOC designations are increasingly preferred and/or required of vendors doing business with public companies. Examinations must be performed by an independent, certified auditor, in accordance with attestation standards established by the AICPA.

    As large companies focus more on the potential risks of data breaches and environmental considerations related to retired IT assets, greater scrutiny is being placed on ITAD vendors and their ability to safely and responsibly dispose of assets.

    Kegley asserts that third party audits will become more prevalent. "Large companies – and increasingly smaller ones – want assurance that IT assets will be handled properly after retirement and won’t end up costing millions and ruining their reputations if data is mishandled," he said. "Having a third party assessment of controls – like SOC 2SM – is an important evolution for the ITAD industry."

    The proliferation of IT equipment and corresponding need for ITAD services is well documented. For example, the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated an installed base of 338.3 million PCs in the U.S. in 2010 and a 20.5 percent annual retirement rate, pointing to a need for ITAD vendors with highly developed controls and processes to ensure proper disposal.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    Ingram Micro Teams with U.S. Micro to Offer New IT Asset Disposition Services to Channel Partners

    Addressing one of the biggest security concerns within the IT industry and healthcare market, Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) today announced its new IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) Services are readily available for resell by channel partners throughout the U.S.

    Developed in collaboration with U.S. Micro, Ingram Micro's new ITAD Services enable solution providers to offer U.S. businesses and consumers the secure removal of data from all types of IT storage devices including hard disk drives, SD memory cards, printers, copiers or any other electronic device that carries a digital history.

    By leveraging the new ITAD Services, Ingram Micro solution providers can provide customers with environmentally friendly IT disposal services that are proven to remove the risk of future liability for the improper disposal of electronic waste and potentially hazardous materials. Additionally, Ingram Micro’s ITAD Services are approved for use by regulatory influences such as HIPAA that require healthcare facilities to determine and document the appropriate methods used to dispose of hardware, software and data.

    "The security risk, regulatory requirements and environmental concerns around how to get rid of old or unwanted technology are weighing heavily on businesses and consumers, and with good reason", says Ted Tilden, senior director of sales, U.S. Micro. "Recent reports indicate that Americans trash more than two million tons of personal and professional electronics each year – six times more than what is recycled. It’s a frightening reality that cannot be sustained and calls for immediate and meaningful actions."

    "The fallout from data breaches, identity theft and the improper disposal of IT equipment and data is not only costly, but in many cases can be disastrous and undetermined", says Michael Humke, senior director, public sector and healthcare markets, Ingram Micro U.S. "As trusted advisors to both businesses and consumers, our partners in the Public Sector and Healthcare markets are perfectly positioned to offer IT asset disposition services as part of their IT services portfolio. Together, Ingram Micro and U.S. Micro stand ready to enable our channel partners to turn this opportunity into a recurring revenue stream that will bring added value to their business, as well as the clients they serve."

    Available now as part of the Ingram Micro Services Division’s Professional Services portfolio, the new ITAD Services offer both on-site and facility-driven removal of information from devices, including the secure transport of devices to the processing facility. Upon completion of services rendered, solution providers and their clients will receive the necessary documentation and certifications noting the release of liability from any unauthorized or accidental release of electronic information.

    "With the IT refresh cycle underway and adoption of cloud set to explode in 2012, the timing and business value around Ingram Micro’s new ITAD services couldn’t get any better", says Renee Bergeron, vice president of managed services and cloud computing, Ingram Micro North America.

    "As a company, Ingram Micro takes great pride in supporting environmentally-sustainable initiatives and services through our Smart Citizen, Smart Steward program", concludes Bergeron. "When we can extend these efforts into the greater IT community and make it easier, and in this case profitable, for our solution provider partners to actively engage in earth-friendly activities and offer those services to their customers, the rewards are even greater."

    For more information about Ingram Micro’s new ITAD Services solution providers can contact the Ingram Micro Professional Services team at IMSNServices@IngramMicro.com.

    Follow Ingram Micro Inc. on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IngramMicro and Twitter at www.twitter.com/IngramMicroInc.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    Vegas Inc.com

    What better time to show off new tech recycling center than during CES



    Thousands of people are in town this week to see how consumer electronics are born.

    Some of them took a little side trip to see where they go to die.

    U.S. Micro Corp., a computer recycling company formerly based in Smyrna, Ga., officially opened its new 130,000-square-foot plant and headquarters in Las Vegas on Wednesday, inviting some of the crowd in town for the International Consumer Electronics Show.

    While computer de-manufacturing and recycling have been under way at the new plant for about two months, U.S. Micro founder and CEO Jim Kegley decided that the middle of CES was an ideal time to show off the $20 million facility that includes a first-class weight room, game room and kitchen in addition to several lines of machines designed to chew up and spit out obsolete computers and electronics and grind them down to sand.

    More than 300 people took tours and met U.S. Micro managers, and Sen. Dean Heller was on hand for the opening.

    “I never thought I’d get the kind of reception we’ve received,” Kegley said after greeting customers and well-wishers. Kegley said he’s already signed up some casinos and gaming equipment suppliers to contracts to dispose of their old computers and devices.

    Kegley said the challenge that lies ahead is getting the word out that the company is here and in operation to serve the Western United States.

    The Consumer Electronics Association, operators of CES, sponsor several green initiatives including a Sustainable Planet TechZone dedicated to energy-efficient technologies. Trade Show Executive magazine in 2011 named CES North America’s greenest show.

    About 90 percent of the devices brought to U.S. Micro are decommissioned, wiped clean of data and refurbished for sale as reconditioned units. The rest go through a series of shredders and separators to recover anything of value and to grind what’s left into sand.

    After some of the valuable and recyclable metals are removed, the computers are separated, shredded and crushed before being turned into new products. Bicycle racks and curbing blocks are manufactured from the recycled materials.

    The largest industrial shredder in the plant can chew through two tons of materials in an hour.

    Data eradication is a key part of the U.S. Micro mission. The company destroys most data in the presence of its customers. Some data storage units that are sent to the company for destruction are locked in a highly secure vault in the building.

    Since the time the doors of its Georgia facility opened in 1995, with 1 million IT devices processed a year, U.S. Micro says it has never had a data breach.

    Kegley has said the plant, when fully operational in about a year, will have 100 employees, most of whom are being hired locally. Kegley said a handful of executives have moved from Georgia.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    Consumer Electronics Show: Recycling Grows With E-Waste Spread

    LAS VEGAS -- Inside the mad hum of the convention center, an overwhelming array of gadgetry confronts attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show, a showcase for much that is new in the technology world. The products seem impervious to the workings of time, as if the latest smartphones and tablet computers -- so shiny and sleek -- are permanently tethered to the future.

    Yet 10 miles to the west, on a patch of reddish desert beyond the high-rise casinos of the Las Vegas Strip, a building the size of an airplane hangar serves as the final resting place for old electronics. This is where gadgets go when they are wanted no more. Typically, they are refurbished and sold anew. Sometimes, they are stripped down to their basic elements and recycled into plastic, steel and precious metals. The new $20 million plant, which officially cut the ribbon here Wednesday afternoon, is the second such facility opened by U.S. Micro Corp., a business whose very existence illustrates the extent to which the world is increasingly contending with a surplus of unwanted electronics. Even products that seem intrinsically part of the modern age eventually become waste, presenting a growing threat to the environment and the sanctity of the data stored on electronics of every type.

    Back in 1995, when the company’s chief executive and founder, Jim Kegley, opened the first plant in Atlanta, recycling old electronics was at best a niche business. Cell phones were still in their infancy, and a long way from the current fashion of trading up for a slicker model every two years. Popular computers remained on sale for three years and longer, eons by contemporary standards.

    But last year, U.S. Micro -- a privately held company -- estimated that it processed about 1 million technology products, relying solely on the Atlanta plant. With the new facility here, the company foresees processing 1.5 million products this year. The company harvests old devices owned by major American companies across the industrial landscape and disposes of them, refurbishing and reselling about 90 percent of them, while recycling the rest.

    "Typically, we find that our customers don't have a good outlet for their old equipment, and they are worried about their data, so they stockpile," Kegley told The Huffington Post during a visit this week. "We like to say, 'Storage is not a solution.'"

    The growth of the electronics recycling industry sits at the confluence of two intensifying concerns -- the vulnerability of companies whose data is stored on myriad electronic devices, and awareness that huge volumes of old gadgets are landing in troubling places. Many take up space in landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 70 percent of heavy metals landing in municipal waste disposal sites are the result of electronics being discarded. And many are shipped to China and other developing countries, where poor people laboriously harvest their innards using crude and dangerous methods, often polluting waterways and sickening communities.Top of Form Bottom of FormThe marketing pitch from U.S. Micro is predominantly focused on the threat posed by unwanted data lying around in discarded machines -- credit card and Social Security numbers left in the hard drives on computers of major banks; legal documents cached in the memories of copy and fax machines operated by publicly traded corporations; stray thumb drives and memory cards forgotten in old computer bags.

    "Today, we see data everywhere," said Kegley. "People just don’t know what to do with this stuff."

    But the plant here is also aimed at preventing so-called e-waste from sullying landfills in suburban American landfills or rivers in southern China, where whole towns are now engaged in the gritty work of melting down old circuit boards to extract copper and other precious metals.

    The 10 percent of the electronic equipment that technicians deem unfit for refurbishing is fed into a series of conveyor belts and then into the guts of machines that break them into pieces. A large magnetized chamber separates the metals from the plastic, depositing each into industrial-size cardboard boxes to be trucked off to plants that can absorb them.The precious metals are sent to a plant in Europe that separates them into their base elements, Kegley said, while the plastics and steel are sold to domestic users, including the auto industry.

    The company touts its ability to fully process all of the equipment it removes from its customers' premises as insurance against having any of it landing in the wrong hands. 

    Many e-waste recyclers promise to responsibly dispose of old gadgets, only to sell them off to middlemen merchants who export to low-grade operations in China, India and other developing nations, according to environmental watchdogs. Advocates assert that e-waste recyclers must gain accreditation from bodies that audit their operations to verify their compliance with proper practices -- a step that U.S. Micro says it is now pursuing.

    "There really aren't any legal standards for e-waste recycling," said Sheila Davis, executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a San Francisco area non-profit watchdog group. "If you don't have any certification, and you're not audited, then we really don't know what you're doing with the material."

    A Seattle-based non-profit, the Basel Action Network, oversees one such certification regimen, the so-called e-Stewards program, publishing a list of approved e-waste recyclers located in many communities.

    Here in Las Vegas, U.S. Micro said it is pursuing accreditation from a competing regimen, the R2 standard, which includes participation from the EPA. The company said none of the equipment it handles winds up in a landfill or overseas, something it can guarantee by maintaining full control over the process.

    On a walk through the concrete hangar earlier this week, the the volume of goods pouring in was unmistakable. Several dozen boxloads of gear sat stacked on wooden pallets in the loading dock, a trove trucked in from Phoenix and the Seattle area.

    Here were boxes of Dell computer monitors, Cisco routers, a Hewlett-Packard laser jet printer, and a Canon copy machine. A Fujitsu scanner was tagged with a yellow sticky note bearing black magic marker: DO NOT MOVE JESSICA'S SCANNER.

    Not that many years ago, Jessica's scanner had presumably sat inside a shrink-wrapped box, waiting to unleash new possibilities. Now, it was something else -- a modern form of detritus.

    U.S. Micro Corporation
    Since 1995, U.S. Micro Corporation has been a major innovator and leader in enterprise IT data security. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S. Micro serves Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest levels of data security and environmental stewardship. Committed to a 100 percent no landfill policy, the company refurbishes and sells approximately 90 percent of the equipment it processes; the remaining 10 percent is EPA-compliantly recycled at its Next-Generation IT Demanufacturing and Distribution Center in Las Vegas. U.S. Micro is R2, G.R.A.D.E. (Green Recycling Asset Disposal for the Enterprise), ISO 14001:2004 and Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified. It is also a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and holds the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Type II designation.

  • In the News