April 21, 2012

Electronics Recycling Drive a Success


Written by
Kara Patterson
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — The Habitat ReStore’s electronics recycling event on Saturday was a success, and the evidence was plain to see.

By the end of the free, four-hour outdoor event, the electronic waste that volunteers unloaded from vehicles at drive-through stations filled about 60 parking stalls near the ReStore at 3000 E. College Ave.

Televisions, computer monitors, printers, boom boxes and laptops spilled from cardboard boxes onto the pavement.

“This is a lot of TV sets,” said Bruce Pankau of Appleton, who added a boom box with a broken top to one pile. “That shows you the need there probably is, that there are so many here.”

The event, which took place the day before Earth Day, brought in an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 pounds of e-waste for Romeoville, Ill.-based Vintage Tech Recyclers to recycle, said Matthew Daniels, the ReStore’s general manager.

It’s more than double the amount of e-waste that the ReStore collected during a similar event in August, Daniels said.

“Environmental stewardship is part of our mission,” he said. “All of these materials are sorted and properly recycled, all in First World countries. It’s very, very environmentally friendly and it’s done extremely socially responsibly as well.”

Volunteers handed out information about ReStore services and the ReStore’s Earth Day community celebration planned for April 28.

The ReStore is an E-Cycle Wisconsin Registered Collector of electronics for recycling on an ongoing basis, and large collection events serve as good public reminders of that, Daniels said.

“Proceeds from our electronics recycling program go back to our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to fund simple, decent and affordable homes here in the Fox Valley,” he said.

The ReStore’s efforts call attention to the right ways to recycle electronics, said Jeff DeGarmo, regional business development manager at Vintage Tech Recyclers.

“If we can develop more foot traffic to the ReStore, then we’ve all won,” he said.

Because volunteer Jody Meicher of the Town of Harrison recently got a new computer, she brought her old one to recycle at the event.

“For the community, it is a really good resource,” she said. “I didn’t realize how big it was going to be, how many people hang on to their old stuff for so long.”

Kathy Sahli of Darboy dropped off about 15 items, including a television, microwave, cellphones and cameras.

“I’m really trying to spring clean this year and it was just sitting in my basement waiting for the right time to get rid of it,” she said. “Over the last couple years I’ve actually seen old TVs and stuff over in an undeveloped industrial park in Darboy. That just really makes me mad. I would hope with access to this type of (ReStore) drop-off, that people would take advantage of that.”