Cape Girardeau County residents get chance to recycle electronics, other unusual items

Monday, October 20, 2008
AARON EISENHAUER ~ aeisenhauer@semissourian.com Photo Illustration - Cape County's first county wide e-cycling event is planned for Saturday, October 25.

For the first time, Cape Girardeau County residents and businesses will be able to participate in a recycling program with heavy emphasis on electronics.

E-cycle Day is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Jackson's recycling center, 508 Eastview Court.

Rodney Bollinger, Jackson's public works director, said the event is open to everyone in the county, including Cape Girardeau. The event is a joint project led by Jackson with Cape Girardeau County and Jackson's public and private schools.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates indicate only 20 percent of the more than 2 million tons of computers and other electronics pitched annually is recycled.

Bollinger said Joan Evans should get the credit for pulling the program together.

Evans, information systems manager for the city of Jackson, said she started looking for an appropriate program after the city couldn't give away obsolete electronics.

"We wanted to dispose of the items appropriately and minimize cost to taxpayers," she wrote in an e-mail. Using information provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, she found the Crystal City, Mo.-based Midwest Recycling Center and set a collection date for Saturday.

"As hosts of the event, we provide a collection point for Midwest Recycling and promote local participation in the event," Evans said. "If the response from the public is good, we would like to see this become an annual event in April, in conjunction with Earth Day."

The cost to get rid of computer monitors and TVs is $10 each. Evans said she is researching the possibility of getting grants to offset charges at future events.

A number of other items can be discarded for free: laptops, computers, keyboards, mouses, printers, fax machines, scanners, speakers, cameras, VCRs, DVD players, gaming systems, game cartridges, music equipment, wires, cable, power supplies, radios, stereo equipment and typewriters.

People can also dispose of other white elephants such as lawn mowers and lawn tractors (make sure gas and oil are emptied), weed eaters, chain saws, battery powered tools or hand tools, bicycles, window or central air conditioning units, barbecue grills, water heaters, ranges, refrigerators (Freon can be left in unit), washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, small appliances such as toasters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, curling irons, hair dryers, car, cell phone or laptop batteries (not AAA, AA, C or D batteries), fans and vacuum cleaners.

Bollinger said there a few items that will not be accepted: radioactive materials, items containing mercury, tires and any other hazardous waste items.

Evans said the cost to the city, outside of printing flyers to promote the event, is minimal.

"There is also an undetermined cost savings potential for the city due to a reduction in items collected in our residential solid waste program," she said.

"We want this to be the first, but not the last," Bollinger said, adding that he expects a high turnout. "As far as we know we're not going to turn any [approved recyclables] away. They'll just bring another truck."

Any items not accepted will need to be removed from the premises by the owner.

People who expect to dispose of a high number of items should call Midwest Recycling at 636-931-3930 or Jackson at 243-2300 or e-mail recycle@jacksomo.org as soon as possible.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

573-388-3646

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