ERS making its presence felt

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BELLAIRE - Electronic Recycling Services has been operating less than two years in the All-American Town. But in that short time, ERS has made a major impact in the community.

Jim Johnston is general manager at ERS. The former Bellaire High pole-vaulting star is a 22-year Marine veteran. He oversees a staff of 35 employees who perform a myriad of tasks.

While ERS is a profit-making entity, it also supports local causes, especially those in the world of academia.

The South Bellaire-based operation recently donated five refurbished Dell laptop computers to the Sargus Juvenile Center. Dave Trouten, educational administrator at the center, said the computers will be used in the education program and will provide more students the opportunity to access online educational programs.

ERS is now sponsoring an "E-Waste Challenge." Some 10 local schools are involved in the Oct. 7-12 event.

ERS will provide the boxes for the collection of e-waste. All small electronics including cell phones, lap tops, printers, copiers, security systems, cash registers, radios, scanners, typewriters, cameras, VCR and DVD players, cassettes, CD and MP3 players, fax machines and LCD monitors.

The one no-no is "tubed televisions."

ERS is putting up $5,000 in cash prizes. All 10 schools will get a varying amount of the jackpot. Schools have an opportunity to sweeten their respective pots, as the competitors will get a bonus for each cell phone collected.

The "E-Waste Challenge" is a win-win scenario. The environment gets cleaner while schools gain some monetary rewards.

The Bellaire facility is big business. ERS has invested $2 million into the plant with $1 million worth of equipment onsite.

Johnston said that 98 percent of items that come to the Bellaire facility is recycled. He says nothing is taken to the dump.

In addition, ERS operates plants in four other states: Illinois, California, Georgia and Iowa. Even more impressively, ERS is rooted in five other countries: Argentina, Canada, Germany, China and Mexico.

Bellaire is a village growing smaller each year, but Electronic Recycling Services is doing big things.

Kapral may be reached at