Vancouver recycler puts unwanted electronics to use


Earth Friendly Recycling, a company in Vancouver, ensures used electronics stay out of landfills through refurbishing and shredding old devices.

Eric Howell began the family business in 2011 to make the recycling process for specialty items easier. Distinguishing what specialty recyclers could and couldn’t take was a confusing experience for the family. Howell started Earth Friendly Recycling to make the process easier. As a former chemical technician, Howell put his knowledge of recycling special items, including electronics, to use.

“For specialty recyclers like us, we take pride in making sure that everything that comes in here has a very high rate of recovery,” Howell said. “Over 95% of what comes in here is properly recycled and stays out of the landfill.”

Earth Friendly Recycling offers a data destruction service for electronics. Sensitive data is never seen during the process, and hard drives are kept in secure locations in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. Electronics sent in for recycling that cannot be refurbished are taken to specialty shredders in the Northwest. At these facilities, electronics, including computers and smartphones, are broken down into their base components and eventually melted down into ingots for reuse.

Howell said 10% of the recycled electronics are successfully repaired and refurbished. Phones, laptops and tablets that can be reused are sold by the company on its website. Earth Friendly Recycling lowers the price of or auctions refurbished items that cannot be sold. All data is wiped before refurbishment.

“The first thing [staff does] is they make sure that there’s no data left on the equipment, so they’ll pull a hard drive, destroy that and we purchase new hard drives online to include with all of our refurbished equipment,” Howell said.

Many of the refurbished electronics are personal computer components, including computer processing units, graphics cards and random access memory sticks. For privacy, motherboards and hard drives are shredded by default. Howell said locals looking to build a personal computer can find an inexpensive range of options for reuse on the business’s website.

Earth Friendly Recycling does not accept lightbulbs and disposable batteries. Howell recommends residents schedule specialty pickup with Waste Connections to recycle those hazardous materials. In addition, the recycling team will not take gas-powered appliances, heaters with oil and used printer toner cartridges.

Earth Friendly Recycling, located on 11825 NE 113th St. Suite 100 in Vancouver, has a $7 dropoff charge. It is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The company offers pickup for a $69 flat rate regardless of size on Mondays, with a $25 additional charge for large appliances and televisions. People can learn more about Earth Friendly Recycling’s services or purchase refurbished electronics at, or call 360-433-8575 for more information.