Save the day, save the earth
Time to gather up broken television sets, spent computers, inoperable printers and other no-longer-useful gadgets for the Annual E-Recycling Day 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 28 at Spenard Builders Supply.
Sponsored by Cook Inletkeeper, the event is meant to help residents and businesses safely dispose of items that contain both toxic and reusable parts.
Electronic waste is the fastest growing part of America’s waste stream. Electronics may be safe to use, but when discarded they can leak toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, and cadmium, said Dorothy Melambianakis, coordinator of the event.
“One computer monitor can contain up to eight pounds of lead. Through responsible recycling of electronic waste we keep these toxins out of our air and water, keeping these resources clean for future generations. Also, by recycling the precious metals found in electronics, we can help reduce the need to find new sources,” she said.
Last year, Cook Inletkeeper took a larger role in organizing the annual recycling project. It was founded by retired teacher and environmentalist Nina Faust,who saw a need to save the Homer landfill from the toxins such items produce while salvaging their useful parts. Under her efforts, the event continually grew in popularity and poundage collected from 2006’s 12,039 pounds to 2011’s 19,379 pounds.
The most recent expansion is an inclusion of villages at Seldovia, Port Graham and Nanwalek. Last year, Cook Inletkeeper made a trip to each of the villages to collect e-waste.
“We have been working with tribal entities in their environmental program,” Melambianakis said.
They’re scheduled to go over April 24 to each village, days ahead in order to include the collection on the van that will then be loaded in Homer and taken to Total Reclaim in Anchorage.
Last year, a combined 1,451 pounds was collected from the three villages.
“This year, we are hoping for more. All the villages are interested in continuing this program. They’ve kind of taken it on, so that all we’re doing is coordinating pick-up and delivery,” she said.
“Every year it grows. It grows more and more popular. People are expecting it, and asking when will it be. That’s nice to hear, that people are already aware of it and anxious to bring it in,” Melambianakis said.
One major change is in the pricing. Business and nonprofit costs for computer parts hasn’t changed. The hard drive part of computer doesn’t get charged. Monitors do get charged. “That could be a big savings for businesses and schools that have a lot of old computers,” she said.
After it’s collected Total Reclaim, based in Washington with an Anchorage location, transports it to its warehouse in Seattle where the electronics and appliances are broken down. This is the only large scale electronics recycling in Alaska.
Total Reclaim was created in 1990 to help industry and government agencies comply with the requirements of the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act. The company was recognized for taking a global approach to stewardship and safety.
For more information, contact Cook Inletkeeper community outreeach assistant Dorothy Melambianakis at 235-4068 ext. 34 or Dorothy@inletkeeper.org.
Details are also available at www.inletkeeper.org.
- Computers (CPUs)
- Monitors (CRT or LCD)
- Servers, Routers, Hubs
- Televisions, VCR’s, DVD Players
- Stereos and Audio Components
- Cameras – Video and Digital
- Copiers / Scanners / Fax Machines
- Cell Phones and Telephones
- Electronic Scales
- Credit Card Machines
- Alarm Clocks and Clock Radios
- Handheld Games
- Florescent Lights (fee for large amounts)
- Other miscellaneous office machines
Audio and video tapes, exit signs, PCBs, smoke detectors, and vacuums are not acceptable items.