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E-Recycling Co. Bringing 150 Jobs To Former Alcoa Smelter Site

The world's largest recycler of electronic waste is opening a regional recycling center in Badin. Electronic Recyclers International expects to create 150 jobs there by late next year. But the new facility's location at the site of the former Alcoa aluminum smelter has some in town concerned. Electronic Recyclers International works with companies like Best Buy and Samsung to recycle laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices. It's building a recycling hub where the Alcoa aluminum smelter used to be in Badin. It shut down almost a decade ago. Now Alcoa is leasing the site to Electronic Recyclers. Its CEO, John Shegerian, said Alcoa's vice president helped convince him to locate the new recycling center at the vacant Badin site. "Alcoa's going to spend about $5 million or so renovating it, we're going to spend about $5 million in our equipment, so there's going to be a massive investment here," Shegerian said. Shegerian said most of the 150 jobs created will go to local people in Badin, and employees will earn between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. "This will become our southeast regional recycling hub, and hopefully the largest southeast regional recycling electronic facility in America," Shegerian said. Electronic Recyclers takes apart electronic waste and recycles the raw materials such as metal, plastic and glass. Those commodities are then shipped to smelters and factories to be melted down or used for manufacturing. "I think it's wonderful to have the jobs coming into town," said Stanly County commissioner Tony Denis. "I'm just a little bit concerned about the health of the people working in there." Dennis says he's worried about what's left over from Alcoa's aluminum smelter. And Dean Naujoks of the Yadkin Riverkeeper questions Alcoa's motives to help bring the jobs to Badin. He says there are unresolved pollution issues from the smelter. Plus, Alcoa is in a high-profile battle to renew a 50-year license to operate its four dams on the Yadkin River. "This is, in our opinion, part of this public relations campaign to avoid having to address this very serious environmental problem," Naujoks said. Electronic Recyclers will set up a temporary facility and hire 20 to 30 people in Badin this summer. The company plans to finish the permanent recycling hub and hire 150 employees by the end of next year.