Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Westminster College's Audio Visual Services hosted an electronics recycling drive April 21 that netted over 13,000 pounds of expired or unused technology, making it the most successful of the six biannual drives held and bringing the total collection to more than 45,000 pounds.
According to AV Services Director Gary Swanson, much of the high turnout - over 100 cars in four hours - was due to the recent Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, which made select items free for consumers to recycle by transferring costs to manufacturers. Prior to this, small fees were charged to cover the costs of labor and transportation involved in processing these items.
Effective Jan. 1, covered materials (free to recycle) include:
• Laptop and desktop computers
• Computer monitors, printers, mice
• Any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer that provides input or output into or from a computer
• Televisions with a screen size more than four inches diagonally
According to the act, manufacturers of covered materials must establish a recycling plan with a recycler certified by the R2 or E-Steward programs that assure materials are disposed of properly, not dumped in landfills or shipped to third-world countries.
Items collected at Westminster were responsibly recycled by We Recycle, a certified E-Steward recycler from New York through affiliation with AGreenspan, Inc., a computer recycler from Pittsburgh that has been involved in the Westminster drive since its inception.
"We were overjoyed at the number of monitors and televisions people dropped off, even in the inclement weather," said Kelly Matune, a public relations major who serves as AV Services' public relations and operations manager. "Unfortunately, because only certain items were free to recycle, some people said they were going to throw the non-free items in the trash. We want to further educate the public and discourage this practice by providing a convenient and safe alternative. We also hope the state might expand the Act to cover more devices in the future."
Providing location and labor for these drives is an effort by AV Services to make responsible disposal as convenient as possible for the community. Items are kept from landfills where toxic substances can break down and leak into food and drinking water sources. According to Swanson, documentation connects these substances to severe health problems and learning disabilities.
In addition to Swanson, labor for the event was supplied by AV Services staff Katie Bittner, assistant director; Andy Borts, instructional media technician and broadcast events manager; and student staff Jacob Brown, Kyle Bruinooge, Katie Farley, Nicole Jodikinos, Matune, Brad Steward, and Erin Sullivan.
Contact AV Services at (724) 946-7188, email, or visit the Green AV website for additional information. Click here for more information about the Covered Device Recycling Act and what can be recycled free of charge.