In a 44,000-square-foot warehouse behind a small Hempfield office are several large rooms filled with boxes and boxes containing thousands of pieces of used electronics — once the lifeblood of the modern computerized office.
CyberCrunch LLC has literally tons of old laptops, desktop computers, keyboards, mice, televisions, hard drives, desk telephones, batteries and monitors crammed in huge boxes in its Roseytown Road warehouse. The once-vital pieces of office equipment are now in various stages of being recycled for reuse or shipped to a processor to remove valuable metals or parts.
CyberCrunch, a Commonweath Recycling Services Inc. company, serves businesses that are disposing of “end of life” electronics by “scrubbing” sensitive data from computer hard drives and other data-containing equipment before recycling them for reuse or sending them to other processors, said Christopher Churley, operations manager for CyberCrunch LLC.
However, it is not a site for the public to drop off old electronics, like Westmoreland Cleanways in Unity, Churley said.
Among its clients are health care organizations, financial institutions and large corporations across the state.
CyberCrunch serves as a first-stage recycler, Churley said. The task of removing valuable minerals from the electronics is left to downstream recyclers, he said.
“They provide us with e-recycling services. It is a way for us to dispose of our electronic equipment,” said Benjamin Cerro, director of technical services at Excela Health. “We can keep it out of the landfill.”
While more people were working from home and using electronics, Cerro said Excela tried to stretch the life of its electronic equipment, in part because of the difficulty in obtaining new equipment. But it also had to keep up with current technologies on its more than 6,500 computing devices.
The Excela Health devices that were sent to CyberCrunch, like those from other clients, are separated in giant boxes spread across the warehouse space. The materials are sorted into about 60 categories. They’re processed by about 16 to 18 workers out of the 25 at the site, Churley said.
“Anything with a plug can be recycled,” Churley said.
Excela Health in 2021 turned over 33,200 pounds of old electronics to CyberCrunch to remove all personal data. The year before, when pandemic restrictions were in effect for nine months, it sent 29,000 pounds to be scrubbed. Before the pandemic, Excela Health sent about 28,540 pounds of old electronics to CyberCrunch.
CyberCrunch officials said that amount of recycled electronics equals 18 tons of water and emission savings and more than $42,600 in environmental cost savings.
Donation to needy
CyberCrunch refreshed five old laptop computers and added new software for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Health System, said Barbara Flack, client services director.
The good-as-new laptops will go to the Welcome Home shelter in Greensburg, which provides a place to live for families and single women who are homeless. Lyndsay Burrik, the agency’s executive director, said residents will be able to take the laptops with them when they leave Welcome Home.
“These computers will go into the hands of people who need them most,” Burrik said. “This is going to mean a lot to them.”
They can use the laptops to schedule doctor appointments and job interviews, among other tasks, Cerro said.
The Welcome Home shelter was specified as the recipient of the laptops by Excela Health and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Patti Buhl, an Excela Health spokeswoman.
“It will help get those people back on …….