Junk electronics and computer components mean a little extra cash for Shawn McCaig.
McCaig, a postal worker, spends his free time recycling items such as servers, LCD monitors, cell phones, flat screen televisions and other electronic equipment.
“I don’t earn much, but I earn enough to buy groceries,” he said. “It’s a hobby that helps me earn a little more money on groceries.”
He said he picks up equipment in bulk from companies and then breaks down the components in his barn north of Fort Gibson.
“I basically work a triangle between Tahlequah, Wagoner and Muskogee,” he said.
McCaig said he does not charge to pick up the items. He doesn’t buy the items either.
“A normal guy doing what I do is going to charge $150 to $200,” he said. “They’re going to take this stuff and throw it in the dumpsters.”
It separates circuit boards from base metals.
“When I have enough to fill a trailer with the base metals, I take it to a scrap yard,” he said.
He said he ships the circuit boards to places that buy them for later recycling. McCaig said he has buyers in Ohio and Florida.
“They’re going to remove all of the individual components from this board,” he said. “They will refine it for the precious metals that are inside.”
Work also means a cleaner environment.
“An electronic piece of equipment today contains one of hundreds of toxic chemicals or elements that are dangerous to our environment,” he said. “They go to a landfill, they’re buried. Over time, they decompose, they end up in the waterway. It pollutes the water. They pollute plant life. Obviously chemicals are bad for plants. humans and animals.”
For example, magnetrons, which heat food in microwave ovens, contain beryllium, which could cause cancer if the dust is ingested, McCaig said.
“Electronics is full of this stuff,” he said. “Being environmentally conscious, rather than throwing this stuff in a landfill and polluting the environment, this stuff can be reused. If it’s reusable, it can be reused in a new life. If it’s not not reusable, they can be sent to a company who can break it down and reuse it for a second product.”
For more information on computer/electronics recycling, contact Shawn McCaig, (918) 734-2728.