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Front Page » April 19, 2012 » Carbon County News » Get rid of junk electronics on e-Recycling Weekend
Published 862 days ago

Get rid of junk electronics on e-Recycling Weekend


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Modern life has led us to a life of ease and luxury compared to our ancestors. A lot of this has come from the electronic age, particularly solid state engineering which has boomed into one of the biggest businesses in the world.

But all that technology comes with a price and one of those costs is disposing of the "old" hardware we used at one time. Until recently, many people either just threw computers, televisions, printers and other old electronics in the regular trash. Others held onto certain items, like computers with hard drives, guarding possible secrets that might be on those machines that people had told us can't be completely wiped out.

But this Saturday, April 21, there will be an alternative to closets and back rooms full of old electronic gear we don't use anymore. The Green Team is pairing with a company out of Salt Lake, Metech Recycling, to clean out those closets, basements and storage areas of electronic gear most people just don't know what to do with.

"Pretty much anything with an on/off switch can be dropped off including your children's old hand-held electronic games and cameras," stated Jeanne McEvoy, who heads up the Green Team in Price.

The disposal service on that day will be free, in the sense that no one individual will have to pay to bring recycled items to the site, but the Green Team has collected money from various businesses to get this done. They are also asking for donations when people bring their items to the site for disposal.

The benefits of recycling old electronic junk are many. Here are some of them.

- E-recycling conserves natural resources. Valuable material can often be recovered from old electronics and the materials can be used to make new products. One example is precious metals. These types of metals are used in computer circuit boards and other electronic components. Some of these metals are somewhat scarce, so reusing makes a lot of sense.

- Many electronics contain hazardous materials which can cause environmental problems if they are discarded in the trash. There is a lot of lead and mercury in electronics and disposing of them safely prevents those materials from going into water tables. Computers and televisions each have a pounds of lead in them. Printed circuit boards usually have lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury, in varying amounts. Switches and relays usually have mercury in them. And PCBs can be found in older models of computers and televisions.

- In many cases if recycled, these devices are parted out to their various kinds of material components and up to 90 percent of each device can be reused in some way. But many people ask if there is so much recoverable material in electronics, why does it cost to recycle them rather than the recyclers pay the person who contributes them? That's because the processes to recover materials is expensive. And that is one of the main questions anyone should ask before recycling electronics. If it is free (without cost to anyone) then there may be the chance that red flags should be raised by the person contributing. In some cases this may mean the company just disposes of it in a traditional way (dumping it in the land fill) or may even send it somewhere where it is disassembled improperly. That means a shifting of the toxic burden to another place or country.

In the case of Metech they dismantle electronics in their collection and processing center. Data containing devices are securely shredded to eliminate access to any residual data even if drives are "wiped". Component materials are separated by type (plastics, wire, glass, copper, circuit boards, etc.). The company also selects and audits downstream partners that share the same standards of environmental stewardship to ensure that the materials are responsibly returned to the manufacturing stream.

Items that will be accepted on Saturday include a myriad of equipment and media. It includes audio and video tapes, barometers, batteries (all types but automotive), cameras, cell phones, children's light-up shoes, circuit boards, complete computer systems, computer mice, copy machines, CPUs (tower), data cartridges, DLT tapes, docking stations, external CD-ROM drives, external modems, fax machines, floppy drives, flow meters, fluorescent lamps, hard drives, hydrometers, keyboards, LCD flat screens, laptops, main frames, manometers, matrix switch/multiplexers, mercury relays, mercury vapor lamps, mercury tilt switches, microwaves, monitors, overhead projectors, palm pilot or other hand-held devices, power supplies, reel-to-reel tape decks, scanners, servers (depending on size), slide projectors, stereos, stereo speakers, switch/HUB devices, tape drives, slide projectors, telephone systems, televisions, thermometers, mercury-containing thermostat probes, and typewriters.

There are a number of things the recycling site will not accept. That includes biohazards, broken items containing mercury, broken, leaking or corroded batteries, flammable, explosive or spontaneously combustible materials, items too large to be handled safely, hazardous waste, household refuse

rash, liquids of any kind, odorous materials, oil, paint, adhesives, caulk, solvents, thinners, pharmaceuticals, poisons, pesticides, herbicides etc., pressurized containers, reactive materials, sharps, white goods or appliances such as refrigerators, washers, ovens, etc.

The recycling will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 90 North 100 East near where the Farmers Market usually operates.

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