Southern holds second annual E-Waste drive

Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

Recently Southern Connecticut State University held an electronic waste collection drive as part of RecycleMania. The drive allowed the community to drop off old electronic equipment at the Facilities Operations warehouse to be recycled.

Heather Stearns, recycling coordinator at the university, said the electronic waste drive is in its second year and has brought an enthusiastic response from members of the campus.

“This is the second annual e-waste drive and it is open to students, faculty, and staff for their personal items, which really makes people excited,” Stearns said. “Because we all have those dinosaurs sitting in our basements collecting dust and it is nice to be able to rid ourselves and know that they are getting recycled and not going to a landfill.”

The electronic waste drive was held from Mar. 10to the 13 and the drive was successful, according to Stearns.

“Right now we started our fifth pallet and it is about full,” she said.

The electronic waste drive held last March saw the event garner over three thousand pounds of recycled electronic waste, Stearns said.

“We did six pallets and two and a half tons,” she said, “so that is like 3,000 pounds of e-waste.”

The goal of this year’s drive was to accumulate roughly the same amount of recycled electronic waste as last year or to even surpass the numbers of 2013, Stearns said, adding that for next year’s drive, she would like to extend it.

“I think next year I would love to extend it maybe two weeks instead of just one,” she said. To make sure we capture more things and give people an opportunity to plan or if they start to see their neighbors bringing stuff they can say oh yeah I forgot and they can still have time to get their stuff to us.”

The electronic waste drive is, according to Stearns, a really straightforward event.

“The e-waste drive is very simple because it just kind of runs itself, people bring the stuff to us, our staff is gracious enough to unload it for people, and palletize it,” Stearns said. “We then send it out to Tech Recyclers, which is the company we are utilizing, they take all of our e-waste for free, which is really nice, so we are not spending any money on that.”

According to Tech Recyclers, they accept a wide range of electronic equipment, and Stearns said the Southern community was invited to drop off these electronics.

“They are taking any type of e-waste you could think of, TV’s, computers, printers, external drives, the little components like the mouse, keyboard, speakers, all that stuff, and DVD players, all of that is going for the e-waste,” she said.

The drive was also collecting batteries of all sorts, Stearns said.

“They are also taking batteries,” she said. “The batteries are from a multitude of things, we have batteries for like regular alkaline type batteries, the button cell batteries, nickel cadmium batteries, and the little ion batteries, and we have the batteries that go with our trades people, like carpenters, they have the batteries that go on their power tools.”

One aspect of the electronic waste drive that Stearns said is great, is the fact that Tech Recyclers takes all of the waste at no charge, and this is saving the university money.

“They collect all of those things where we used to pay for that service, so now we removed all of those things from that line and we are not paying for them and that is saving us a lot of money,” she said.

All of the hard drives that are collected in the drive are shredded and disposed of, Stearns said, but the warehouse does ask that people delete the drives before dropping them off.

“All of the hard drives are shredded and disposed of so that none of the critical information is exposed,” she said. “We get a certification that lets us know how many they have done and that it is completed. Those are shredded here before they leave the warehouse. During the e-waste drive though we do ask anyone with personal stuff that they take care of their own, so there are no worries for us.”

The electronic waste drive being part of RecycleMania is something that Stearns said is really great for the campus community.

“We are not only doing the typical bottles, cans, plastics, cardboards, and papers, but are able to add on the e-waste,” Stearns said, we are also doing the waste reduction, so we are looking at how can we reduce the waste overall because that is really important to drive the recycling numbers up but also drive the waste numbers down.”

According to Stearns the electronic waste drives have been successful in part because Southern has such a rich technological impact.

“It made it really easy for us being an institution that had a lot of technology, it is pretty simple to get that stuff out,” she said.

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