Annual drive makes use of electronic waste


Haljit BasueljevicReporter

Any student or staff member with a broken phone or outdated computer can find their device still useful in recycling at Southern’s Facilities and Operation (FO) building.

Last week, SCSU’s annual, non-profit e-waste drive occurred. Faculty and students were invited to dispose of their old or broken electronic devices down in the FO building’s loading dock area. Recycling Coordinator Heather Stearns stated that, for several years, the Recycling Center has coordinated the e-waste drive as part of their goal in maintaining sustainability within the community.

She added that throughout the years, they’ve received between of nine to 25 tons of donated waste. This year it amounted up to roughly five tons prior to the last day.

Stearns also said that she used to see professors donate the old, hatchback computers in the very beginning.

“And now we’re seeing more of the laptops and the big computers, “said Stearns. “They’re happy to have an outlet for these things, because many people know they can’t throw them in the regular trash.”

Almost any electronic device can be considered eligible for the drive, provided the plug for it is donated as well, Stearns said. Those giving away their computers are required to remove the hard drives, which will be gathered into a separate pile and then donated. This is to ensure that the university suffers no liability and all private information is kept safe, because what happens with them between shipments is not their responsibility. Hard drives from the university get shredded on site, Stearns said.

With the materials bundled up in cardboard bins atop a pallet, each shipment goes to a receiving company and then the metals become utilized by other buying companies.

All year round, any waste that is generated from school property, such as deteriorated computers or cables, can go to be recycled.

The annual drive gives the chance for any student, staff, or faculty to give away their personal belongings.

The volume of what is donated fluctuates depending on when the IT department will turn in the computers, she said. It could be another three years before the university’s technology is swept up and recycled.

Stearns said although most of the time it comes from faculty members, she has seen an increasing number of students contribute. She said generally, faculty and staff members will have more e-waste to dispose of.

“It’s all about the advertising,” said Stearns.

She said through word of mouth, email and posters, they’ve been able to spark curiosity amongst the community. However, Stearns said she acknowledges the difficulty of advertising when there is so much information and events that can flood someone’s attention on a day-to-day basis.

“We’re littered with posters all over bulletin boards, so it may not catch your eye. You may not be walking by a digital display at the time the e waste flyer pops up,” said Stearns.

She also added there also various spots on campus, such as the Engleman Hall Rotunda and the Adanti Student Center information desk, where students can drop their phone chargers in to be recycled.

She said that future events, like Recyclemania, compliment the E-Waste drive by offering a competition amongt universities to promote waste reduction.

“We have some really great resources for people. Again, it’s trying to communicate all these great things that we do and that we have, just like so many offices on campus have amazing things to offer. It’s seeking them out,” said Stearns.

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