Electronic waste recycling collects over 10,000 pounds
IIT and the Office of Campus Energy & Sustainability (OCES) hosted three electronic waste recycling collection days throughout March and succeeded in collecting over 10,400 pounds of unwanted electronics.
Electronic waste includes any unwanted computers, phones, printers, copiers, cameras, fax machines or any other device with a plug. These devices often contain lead, mercury, and other dangerous substances that could harm human health and the environment if disposed of in a landfill or simply on the side of the road. Despite these dangers, Americans throw away millions of tons of electronics every year. The problem is getting worse as our electronics are becoming obsolete faster, which makes us buy more to serve new needs.
As of January 01, 2012, it was illegal to throw away electronics in Illinois. They were required to be recycled with a certified electronic waste recycler which would ensure that all electronic pieces are recycled in a safe and environmentally benign manner.
In an effort to comply with this new law and provide an easy means of doing something good for the environment, IIT held three electronic waste recycling collection days. The first two days, on March 14 and 15, were geared towards the IIT Community with drop-off locations in the Hub, MTCC and the Tower as well as at IIT’s Downtown Campus. The Downtown Campus event was the first ever event of this nature at this location and was organized by the student group Net Impact. The March 31st event was geared towards the community at large and 31 people from as far south as Hyde Park to as far north as Lakeview came to drop of their unwanted electronics.
IIT partnered with certified electronics waste recycler Universal Recycling Technologies, which transported the collected electronics back to their sorting facility. All the electronics will be tested with those that are still functional being resold, those that have some useful parts being salvaged and those that are completely non-operable being recycled. All memory cards and hard drives are shredded. Universal Recycling Technologies recycles all the electronics within the U.S. so none of it gets shipped abroad.
The electronics collected also count as part of Recyclemania – the 8 week recycling competition going on from February 05 – March 31. Electronics is a separate category from general recyclables and we’re hoping our e-waste numbers will put us top in the state.
Due to the success of these three electronic waste recycling collection days, the Office of Campus Energy & Sustainability is looking at making them a regular thing every semester that will serve both the IIT Community and the general public. Currently, all IIT departments can get their e-waste collected by putting in a work order with facilities.
A special thanks to the volunteers Elizabeth Mauban, Nicole Glick, Matthew Maule, Kendall Granberry, Emily Bardsley, Frances Patterson, and Leroy Kennedy, whose help was invaluable in these events running smoothly.
To learn more about recycling and sustainability at IIT, come to IIT’s April Sustainability Event, on April 19 at noon in the MTCC Ballroom where the Office of Campus Energy & Sustainability along with WISER will recap the progress towards meeting our 2020 Sustainability Goals as well as discussing IIT’s energy future.