When the going gets tough companies can either sink or swim. Some companies use the struggle to prove their resilience and commitment to thrive; other companies throw in the towel–or sometimes even cheat to keep up. We were saddened and disappointed to hear that our friends and recycling partner in Washington, Total Reclaim, admitted to cheating when the market got tough.
Total Reclaim is a well-known electronics recycler headquartered out of Seattle that deals specifically with e-Waste like computer monitors, televisions, bulbs, batteries–you name it. As part of their service promise (and not to mention federal law) the e-Waste that it recycles must be disposed of safely and domestically. The company built up a fantastic reputation for itself as one of the greenest companies in Seattle, even boasting to be a “true friend” of the earth. In their own mission statement you can read: “We not only meet legal requirements in our efforts to protect the environment, but we surpass them in every way.”
It’s recently been discovered, however, that Total Reclaim was not surpassing these requirements at all; in fact, they were ignoring them completely and have been illegally exporting the material to China, Mexico, Kenya and beyond, despite the promises made to their customers. Top officials of the company provided the rationale to their behavior saying, “We lost sight of our values and made business decisions that were contrary to the certifications and standards we had agreed to meet.” The reason, they explained, was due to plummeting commodity prices and rising labor costs.
In other words, they traded decency for dollars and loyalty for lucre.
At Shred Northwest we are especially saddened with the situation because we, too, are affected. In an effort to find greener methods for recycling our old electronics, we have trusted them to dispose of our goods in the manner they promised for many years. We even recommended them to our own customers as green and reliable.
We are glad, however, to hear of Total Reclaim’s apparent remorse and the actions being taken to remedy the situation. We hope the company’s officials have learned that honor, integrity, and reliability are priceless characteristics that are far more valuable than a few dollars saved. We are especially grateful to all our loyal customers and business partners who demonstrate integrity in all that they do. Keep it up and keep on shredding!