Case Study

How We Diverted 85% of Our Clients' Used Electronics from the Landfill

This case study was sponsored by StopWaste, the Bay Area Green Business Program, the City of Fremont and Alameda County.

Surplus Service is driven by the philosophy that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. With a little effort, defective electronics can be diverted from the waste stream and given a second life.

“85% or more of the products that come into our facility don’t get recycled—they get repaired or reused! That’s something we are the most proud of since otherwise they would end up shredded by recyclers or in landfills.”

—Lou Ramondetta, President of Surplus Service

Surplus Service has trademarked UpcyclIT®, a waste reducing process that provides alternative recycle options to repair, reuse, and remarket products that would otherwise go to waste. With UpcyclIT®, 85% of electronics ranging from medical equipment to entertainment systems are reused. Spare and replacement parts are harvested from products that cannot be repaired.

True to their reuse commitment, Surplus Service’s furniture, carpet, and appliances are secondhand. Packing materials from incoming products are reused for outgoing shipments, along with shredded copy paper.

Additional sustainability practices include:

  • The office is intentionally located near public transportation, including the planned Warm Springs BART station.
  • All of the building’s lights are on alternating switches so light is only used where staff is working.
  • To conserve energy, no heating or air conditioning is used.
  • All food waste is collected for offsite composting
  • Office materials, utensils and plates are re-useable.
  • Waste to the landfill has been reduced from a 3-5 yard dumpster to a 32 gallon garbage can per week.
  • Surplus Service is proud to have been removing millions of pounds of toxic and hazardous e-waste from their community over the years.

They also serve their neighbors by providing donations, sponsorships and mentoring services to veterans groups, youth programs and local community colleges. Surplus Service is an active and vocal member of various industry associations and serves on the Santa Clara County Recycling & Waste Reduction Commission Technical Advisory Committee.