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The Beast eats metal for every meal


RecycleForce workers feed The Beast.

The Beast - or the Andela 150 CRT Crushing Machine - rips up old electronics, plastics, e-waste and sorts it into smaller piles. It rips into the valuable guts of trash and allows RecycleForce to amass precious metals such as silver, palladium, copper and aluminum.

"That's why we call ourselves urban miners," Big Ed said. "We saw the opportunity."

According to the EPA, "One metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the US."

The Beast eats lead-heavy cathode ray tubes (CRT) encased in old televisions and its keepers send the leaded glass on to smelters in Missouri. If not dissembled and reclaimed, stockpiled spent TVs present a leaching risk to groundwater without appropriate control. Electronic items such as printers, faxes, DVD players and keyboards are favorite meals of The Beast, according to the 2010 RecycleForce annual report.

A video monitor allows supervisors to witness the carnage and diagnose problems.
  • Rebecca Townsend
  • A video monitor allows supervisors to witness the carnage and diagnose problems.

"By shredding these materials, Workforce will be able to more effectively recover recyclable materials," the report said, thanking investors such as Japanese businessman, Tetsuyuki Koizumi, president of Philo Urban-Metal Technology Corp., who supported RecycleForce with a $400,000 loan, RSF Social Finance for its $460,000 and the Sisters of Charity with a 100,000 loan.

"Workforce believes that this investment will permit it to hire 80 additional employees over the next two years," the report said.


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