As an e-waste recycler, many interesting things come through the front door - especially old technology. Piles and piles of old technology.... mostly of the cheap and cheerful variety.

But now and then there's an absolute gem.

Recently an old IBM ended up on my workbench. It was sturdy and practical - and when I opened it up I had no choice but to say "wow". It was beautifully hand-crafted, no automatic machine soldering or sloppy robotic efforts in sight. Wires were cloth-clad or rubber-coated and labeled by hand. Each join, each connection, each component was carefully placed and secured. It may have hummed along for many years, but there was no accumulated dust and grime - filters and fans had done their thing.

A few days ago a reel-to-reel tape recorder occupied the same spot on my workbench. It's probably older than I am, both complicated and simple, with many, many screws and nuts and bolts. Each had a purpose, all moving parts worked smoothly together - all put together by hand.

Every day, cookie-cutter modern throw-aways end up in my care. It's easy to break and strip them without really noticing what you're doing.

But there are some items that deserve to be treated with respect. Appreciated, admired, perhaps set aside and rescued from the pile. At the very least recycled mindfully, not uncaringly. Components and systems that make you pause and look properly at them.

Yes, it's just metal and glass and plastic. It's unfeeling technology. But the people who made it, the minds who dreamed it into being, these created and crafted things of beauty. Items that did the job and did it well for many many years.

And that commands my respect, my admiration as I carefully deconstruct what they have made.


"Organic" and "E-Waste" aren't usually two labels you'll find in one sentence, but there's always a first time!

Although Virgin Earth has been my "label" for many years, it's been a sorta hold-all for many things. That is, until a year ago. Until our main focus became e-waste recycling. This blog has been dormant for a while, and for good reason. Virgin Earth has been very very busy.

In a few words, Virgin Earth has grown organically in a very un-organic industry. Piles of metal, plastic and old technology don't really bring to mind green growing things! Though I do admit to finding traces of ex-life in a few components among the dust and cobwebs. There are a couple of bugs who died a very high-tech death.

And yet the whole focus of recycling all this stuff is really green - it's entire aim is to prevent human discards ending up clogging the landfills and environment with junk. In the process we as e-waste recyclers deal with very un-green products.

There is a huge need for our services. In recent months we've helped companies and schools, individuals and distributors find an ethical way to remove old machinery from their lives. It's usually replaced by new stuff - and the good thing with this is that newer technology is increasingly more environmentally-friendly. We're taking energy-hogging chunks of metal and plastic out of the equation, reducing the load on the system, and clearing the back rooms of junk.

And thus the focus of this blog is shifting as Virgin Earth continues to organically grow and fill the gaps between thrower-away and cleaner planet. It's time to shift gears and give you a look at life behind the scenes of an e-waste recycler.

What to expect? A sneak peek at what we do, how we do it, some thoughts on what's going on in the e-waste world, a bit of personal experience, and a post or two on news happening the planet over.

Watch this space.. you may just learn something!