Eighteen environmental professionals from Sri Lanka came to Frederick County on Thursday to tour e-End, an electronics recycling company near Frederick, to learn more about the recycling and destruction of electronics.
The group is on a two-week tour through the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Special American Business Internship Training program. Through the program, professionals in emerging countries visit with U.S. companies and organizations to get a better idea about their respective industry and establish business contacts, according to Liza Sobol, deputy director of the SABIT program.
The environmental professionals spent a week in Washington, D.C., and will travel to Las Vegas next week to attend the 2019 Waste Expo.
Sobol said the 18 delegates were all waste-management experts in Sri Lanka, either in the public or private sector.
She said the purpose of the tour was to give them an idea of how electronics are properly recycled or disposed of in the U.S. as well as the regulations, policies and procedures that are crucial in electronics recycling.
Reshan Wickramasinha, CEO of Cleantech — an electronic recycling company in Sri Lanka — said the tour was informative, adding that e-End disposes of electronics differently than his company does.
He said his primary takeaway from the tour was secure destruction and how to properly dispose of certain electronics.
“The entire end-to-end security that e-End provides and the assurances that they provide, we do not have,” he said. “The destruction methods and what they’re using to demolish [electronics] completely is equally important.”
The assurance and reputation a company like e-End has is something he hopes to replicate at his own company in Sri Lanka.
“We need to build up to something like that,” he said. “I need to get my team together and then show them everything ... to educate our guys and then step up to try and reach these guys because we are way, way behind.”
He added that going forward he hopes to partner with e-End to properly destroy classified data and electronics.
When Steve Chafitz, president of e-End, received a phone call from Sobol asking to host a tour for the group, he was honored.
“We want to educate people,” he said. “They learned a lot about electronic recycling that they had no idea about, especially about destroying the data.”
The group first sat through a presentation where Chafitz explained the different certifications needed to properly recycle electronics, the importance of data destruction and the difference between certain destruction machines his company uses.
He then took the group on a tour of his business, where everything from weapons to hard drives to laptops is properly destroyed.
“I feel very honored,” Arleen Chafitz, CEO of e-End, said of hosting the tour. “We’re just educators. It’s an area where people need to be educated.”
Steve Chafitz added that the group coming to e-End is good for the county.
“People came from Sri Lanka, they came to Frederick County, Maryland, after D.C., and it’s something for them to go home and remember,” he said. “It’s like goodwill, if nothing else. Our goal is to educate people to let others know what you can do in a small company, like ours, to solve a problem for the environment.”