November 15, 2014

America Recycles Day has locals ’emptying out technology of years gone by’

Computers, VCRs and fax machines that had been collecting dust in basements for more than two decades might now be able to be put to use.

The city of Hagerstown and Washington County hosted separate events on Saturday, allowing local residents to drop off household electronics to be recycled in celebration of America Recycles Day. While the county’s event was held at Valley Mall, the city event was held at Municipal Stadium.

Sherry Wyne and Keith Jones had made three trips to the stadium to drop off materials by noon.

“We’re emptying out technology of years gone by,” said the 51-year-old Jones. “I think recycling this stuff is a great thing, and I wish more places would do it, plus it clears out our basement.”

Wyne, 51, said they had dropped off computers, televisions, towers, monitors, VCRs, old network equipment and said they had to come back to drop off two more televisions, laptops and more network equipment.

“Being able to clear out a mass of space in our basement free (is a) bonus,” she said. “We’re just really grateful that the service is available.”

In addition to computers, VCRs, and televisions, residents also could drop off photocopiers, fax machines, stereos, cell phones, telephones, patch cables, cameras, MP3 players and video game consoles.

Waste Management Business Development Manager Phil Murphy said that recycling electronic materials is important because it is wasteful and hazardous for those items to be taken to landfills.

“You look from the value side of materials, you have components like copper, and in some of the high-end computers, there’s gold and silver, and there’s also dangerous materials like lead, cadmium and mercury,” he said. “If you look at some of these big-screen TVs, there’s fluorescent tubes inside, and we have to recover all the good stuff and manage the hazardous material as well.”

Murphy said that most of the material is not reusable, so it is taken down to its “elemental” form.

“We’ll recover the plastics and recycle the plastics, we’ll recover the metals out of this like copper, lead, things like that,” he said. “This material does have commodity value, so landfilling it doesn’t make sense.”

More than 150 residents had come to drop off materials by noon, Murphy said.

Rick Binford of Hagerstown stopped by the stadium to drop off an old television and a computer with three keyboards.

Binford, 61, said that he had both devices for about 25 years and that it was very convenient for him to be able to drop them off Saturday.

“I think it’s important that we take care of our resources,” he said. “I don’t know where this is going, but it’s better to keep it out of the landfill.”

Posted on Nov 15, 2014
by Caleb Calhoun