More than 300 million empty printer cartridges are disposed of each year in North America, equaling about 900 million pounds of waste that can potentially end up in a landfill. But for a few days in January, the EDSS Environmental Club will be doing their part to make sure that Elmira’s used electronics get to the right place. Working with Greentec, a company that specializes in environmentally responsible recycling and recovery of electronic waste, the students are asking schoolmates, their friends and their families to donate their old, broken or used desktop computers, laptops, monitors, TVs, hard drives, disk drives, copiers, scanners, modems, VCRs, videogame controllers, pagers, chargers, answering machines, ink cartridges, home phones and cellular phones and DVD players to their recycling program.
“Our peer group goes through electronics so quickly,” said Environmental Club member Sarah Ogle. “People end up throwing out their old cell phones and electronics because they don’t want to travel to the recycling facility. Now it will be easy for them to just drop it off at the school.”
Greentec – a Cambridge based e-waste company – collects, processes and recycles the items, diverting the waste from local landfill sites. The company has been responsible for the diversion of more than a million cartridges from landfills. More than 20,000 schools in North America participate in their recycling program, Think Recycle, the company says.
According the Greentec, the electronic equipment we use on a daily basis are commonly filled with compounds of mercury, lead, arsenic and have been proven to reduce air quality and leach harmful chemicals into the groundwater and soil if they are sent to a landfill.
“It does make a difference whether we send the items to a landfill or if we recycle them,” said club member Whitney Snyder. “People might think that if it’s just one thing it won’t really matter but if everyone thinks that then it adds up.”
Anyone can donate their old cell phones, digital cameras or printer cartridges or other electronics in the bin inside the main EDSS foyer on Jan. 13, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. or on Jan. 14, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.