May 15, 2012

"E-Cycle" celebrates 1st anniversary


Reporter: Alex Ronallo

APPLETON – Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Appleton is celebrating the 1st anniversary of its “E-Cycle” program.


Like hammers and nails, your old iPods and TVs can help put a roof over someone’s head. Area Habitat for Humanity ReStores takes them and resells them to a recycler.


The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Appleton has been taking in old electronics since May of last year.


“We believe in reduce, reuse and recycle and it’s a great way to be socially responsible about how you’re getting rid of your old electronics,” said general manager Matthew Daniels.


It’s against the law to just toss old electronics.


Daniels said ReStore takes most devices for free. They charge $5 to $10 for TV and computer monitors, but you get a matching gift card back to the store. He said the community needed a service like this.


“To date we’ve been able to recycle about 210 tons of electronics, about 475,000 pounds,” said Daniels.


It takes about a week and a half for the Appleton ReStore to fill up one of a semi trailers with the recycled electronics and each trailer holds about 9,000 pounds. The trailers are picked up by Vintage Tech Recyclers. That company, in turn pays ReStore for the electronics.


“We get a few cents a pound for every TV, computer and remote-control toy that’s dropped off to us,” said Daniels.


According to Daniels, Vintage Tech goes on to resell the usable parts and to safely destroy anything unusable or that might contain sensitive information.


So far “E-Cycle” alone has raised about $12,000 for the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity.


“We need those funds to put those families in those homes,” said Vaya Kiel, Outreach VISTA for the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity. She said the E-Cycle program is about raising money and awareness.


“These are opportunities to educate the community and help them be a part of our mission,” said Kiel.


Daniels said it is working.


“People who have never heard of Habitat for Humanity or the Habitat ReStore, that have wanted a place to recycle their electronics have ended up new customers or donors for us,” said Daniels.