No one knows the worth of cell phone recycling better than John Shegarian. Shegarian, the Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Recyclers International Inc, has made millions out of recycling electronic equipment, including old cell phones. ‘Urban mining’ is how Shegarian describes the process of the recycling of electronic goods, including used cell phones, and he should know. Given that the company he helped create now has no less than seven facilities across the whole of the United States including one in Indianapolis, which recycles electronic waste from Illinois and the greater Midwest. It used both manual labor and machines to strip different parts from electronics. This ranged from televisions to computer monitors, old cell phones and more, the company increased its business by thirty -three percent last year compared to just one year earlier and less than three months into 2011, are already up by another thirty-eight percent in comparison with this point in 2010.
Electronic Recyclers International Inc earned forty five million dollars in profits last year, and Shegarian believes that number will rise to sixty-five million this year and reach a hundred million by next year. “E-waste is the fastest growing solid waste stream in the world,” Shegarian says. “When I got into this business, there was no Kindle, there was no iPad and no 3D television, so think of what’s happened in a mere six years. Roughly speaking, our first month of business we recycled ten to twenty thousand pounds of electronics; second month, we did thirty to fifty thousand; third we did seventy five to a hundred thousand pounds – it grew massively.”