Unlike the many electronics Dan Tharp recycles as owner of Ecycle Northwest, he only has one heart, which worked well until recently.
In February, Tharp had several stents placed following a “significant” heart attack, he said. “There is another blockage ‘not as bad’ that they couldn’t get to … I still may need open heart surgery.”
The physical setback, path toward health and a recent notice to vacate at least portion of the property he both lives on and operates Ecycle Northwest on is causing Tharp to refocus his business and potentially move.
Lacking the energy and physical capabilities he once had, Tharp admits he’s “fallen behind,” but is working to keep the business alive and longtime employees like Corey Maley employed.
Since his health was compromised, Maley has been “pivotal” to keeping Ecycle Northwest afloat, Tharp said. “We’re trying to go forward in a positive manner for everyone involved and for the community.”
In hopes of gaining financial support, Tharp launched a GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/25bb8xmu.
“Any funds raised will help us get caught up and craft a new plan,” he said. “We’re going to downsize to mostly electronics — that’s how we started, it’s what we do well and it’s something no one else does.”
Tharp moved to the Olympic Peninsula 15 years ago on his motorcycle and quickly recognized a need for something like Ecycle Northwest.
He founded the speciality recycling center just east of Sequim in 2007 with a focus on responsibly recycling of electronics.
After serving in the Navy, Tharp mostly worked as a union contractor and spent much of his career building landfills and transfer stations, including the Regional Transfer Station in Port Angeles.
His past work creating the infrastructure needed to handle large quantities of waste was inspiration for Ecycle Northwest.
“It doesn’t make sense how we handle our things when we’re done with them,” he said.
In nearly 10 years the business grew beyond electronics to include recycling services for scrap metal, appliances, as well as plastic and cardboard baling.
However, given the recent events, Tharp plans to narrow the services provided to mainly electronics and cardboard.
Maley, who has worked with Tharp for more than six years, believes an electronic waste recycling center is “necessary.”
“If it’s (electronic recycling) not happening here, most of the stuff is just getting dumped on a logging road or in a landfill,” he said.
Ecycle Northwest remains open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday at 272693 U.S. Highway 101. For more information, visit ecyclenw.com or call 681-8645.
Reach Alana Linderoth at firstname.lastname@example.org.