World Class Electronics Dismantling in Saskatchewan
08 Jul 2013
POSTED BY: Admin | Comments: 0
by Sean Homenick
Manager of Research and Development

This past April, the electronics dismantling operations at three SARC Member Agencies passed the stringent, exacting standards set forth in EPRA’s Recycler Qualification Program.  By doing so, KIN Enterprises, the Saskatchewan Abilities Council- Yorkton branch, and Estevan Diversified Services became three of only 26 electronics recycling companies in Canada to successfully pass the arduous process. 

The management, staff and boards of these agencies dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to this cause, and completing this program is extremely noteworthy event for facilities of this size.  By passing this standard, these three Members are among the upper echelon of occupationally and environmentally responsible electronics recyclers in the world.

I recently interviewed Sandra Bilan, the Dismantling Supervisor in Yorkton for over six years.  I wanted to know just how far electronics dismantling operations at their site have come, and about some of the interesting facts about electronics recycling that the general public might not know.

Sean Homenick: What is your favourite part of the job?

Sandra Bilan: Working with my staff.  I have a good group.  It is not just a job for them or me, but we have developed a friendship where we can still get our work done.  If they just had to stand back there and quietly take apart electronics for five days a week, I wouldn’t have any staff.  You need to have fun while you’re working. 

SH: What is the most challenging part of your job?

SB: I don’t have any least favourite part of the job.  I love my job.

SH: You’ve worked with a lot of people over the years and taught them a thing or two about electronics dismantling.  What have you learned from them?

SB: I’ve worked with people with disabilities in the past and non-disabled people.  Both are challenging, but it’s hard not to bring personal issues into the workplace.  People of varying abilities in our program are more willing to do more for you because they take so much more pride in what they do.  What is a job for us, for a person who is living with a disability to come to work, work hard with a smile on their face lets you know that you’ve made a difference. 

Robyn and Jim have shown me a lot of ways to increase productivity and raise safety concerns.  It is guys who are (mechanically inclined) that are a wealth of information. 

SH: You’ve been here since day one.  What has changed in the past six years?

SB: We have moved to a new facility (Fall 2011), which has great lighting that has made a big difference for our guys.  We are into air drills and socket sets.  We are almost only using air tools and have gotten away from hand tools.

Standards keep changing.  Some of the standards change how we dismantle things, but we are always looking into how to do it efficiently.  We are required to look at greater safety controls to be compliant with the standard.  We can’t do anything now without a proper procedure for how to use it, and there is much more training involved with what we do now than when I started.  The training I received when I first started pales in comparison to the training I give to my guys now.

SH: If you could describe the facility the first day you started in one word, what word would you choose?

SB: Chaotic.  Back then we were congested.  We now have our own place together away from client services.  It’s a lot more secure.

SH: If you could describe the facility today in one word, what word would you choose?

SB: Easy.  It’s a lot better (than where we were). 

SH: What is the weirdest thing you have ever found in the electronics we sent you?

SB: A gorgeous diamond ring in a computer.  It still baffles me that someone could lose something like that.  And how would it even come off?  Maybe she was pissed off.  It’s funny because now my guys look really closely in all the tubskids to see if any other diamond rings are in the tubskids!

SH: What is the worst thing you have ever found it the electronics we sent you?

SB: A needle.  It poked me.  Our staff was shocked that we would actually get a needle in electronics.

Little baby mice droppings.  We do not like mice period.  The women scream and the men sit back and laugh!

SH: What’s your favourite gizmo to take apart?

SB: CPUs.  They are fast, easy and there is nothing to them.  Everybody loves taking them apart.

SH: What’s your least favourite piece to take apart?

SB: Printers.  They are big, bulky, and there is some much more involved with a printer (more components).  It is much more detailed work.

SH: Do you ever take out your frustrations with your personal electronics on the electronics you dismantle?

SB: No.  I just swear at mine at home.  I will say that I can tell if an employee is having a bad day just by how they are dismantling.  When the hammer comes out, you know they are having a bad day (laughs).

SH: Do your friends ever ask you for IT help?

SB: No, because I take them apart.  I am not a computer technician, I am a computer dismantler.

SH: I wouldn’t trust you with my phone either.

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