Spaces: Recycling Room at E-Structors, Elkridge

Until you walk into the ~200,000 square foot electronics recycling facility at E-Structors, it is difficult to imagine the scale. Picture a Wal-Mart superstore -- one of the really big ones -- and you won't be far off. It's easier to think of it in acres (nearly five).

Suffice to say if you have properly disposed of an aging gadget recently, it has probably ended up here.

Provided they are not too far out of date, working items are returned to service. Many higher value nonworking items (such as laptops and Pentium-or-newer desktops) are repaired using the supply of cannibalized parts. They are sold to wholesalers or donated to charitable organizations.

Otherwise, they are broken down by hand and/or machine into recyclable components -- steel, copper, plastics, glass, etc. A steady stream of trucks arrive with electronic waste and leave with recyclable aggregate all day.

The room above is but one of two cavernous spaces at E-Structors' Elkridge facility. It is actually full of workers, but at this scale they are difficult to see. For a larger version of the photo, click here.

Tags: Sustain, Sense of Place