‘E-rase your E-waste’ announces spring/fall collection dates
It’s spring cleaning time again, which means the Richland County “E-rase your E-waste” committee is gearing up for its 2014 annual spring and fall collection events. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this community-wide service program, which has recycled more than 154 Tons of outdated and waste electronics during that time.
According to organizers, dates for this year’s spring weekend collection are Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, and again will include a joint mini collection in Fairview on Saturday morning, May 10, as part of that community’s annual Citywide Cleanup event. The regular fall weekend collection is set for Sept. 5-6 in Sidney only, although anyone in the MonDak region, or even outside it, is welcome to bring their electronic items to any E-rase your E-waste collection site.
Yellowstone E-waste Solutions of Billings is again the e-cycler for both the spring and fall collections and provide their services for FREE, with two small exceptions, organizers noted. Participants wanting their hard drives removed from their computers will need to pay a small fee of $5 for removal. In addition, those needing documentation certifying that their hard drive has been destroyed will also be charged a $5 fee.
Again, the collections in Sidney and Fairview are all FREE as noted above! The Sidney E-rase your E-waste events will be held as usual at the Richland County Shop at 2140 W. Holly in Sidney, next to the Fairgrounds. Signs will be posted. Times for both spring and fall events in Sidney are Fridays 3-7 pm and Saturdays 9-3 pm. Please note, the county shop is available for drop offs during event times ONLY, when Yellowstone E-waste Solutions employees and local volunteers will be available to help with loading and unloading.
In Fairview, items will be accepted at the Fairview Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 10, Fairview chamber organizers said. Note, that NO items, either regular trash or e-waste, will be accepted after the 12 pm deadline in Fairview.
Local businesses, agencies and organizations with large amounts to e-cycle are asked to make an appointment to drop off their items by calling Jackie Couture at 406-433-9422. Please leave a message.
Where possible larger recyclers are also encouraged to palletize their own items, or send extra staff to help get it done at the summer events. Details on acceptable items and how to palletize them can be found in a handout posted to the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab’s e-waste website at www.ars.usda.gov/npa/nparl/ewaste. In addition, a handy “Items List” recycling form is also available at the website to further speed processing time for participants bringing both large and small amounts, Couture noted.
The “E-rase your E-waste” effort in Sidney is coordinated by members of the Richland County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), Richland Opportunities Inc., and volunteers with other community organizations including the RSVP program. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has also committed funds for advertising the 2014 event.
E-waste: Frequently Asked Questions
What is e-waste?
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, mobile phones and fax machines are common electronic products and make up one of the fastest growing segments of our nation's waste stream. The National Safety Council projects that nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years and mobile phones are being discarded at a rate of 130 million per year.
What hazards are found in e-waste?
Computer monitors and older TV picture tubes contain an average of four pounds of lead and require special handling at the end of their lives. In addition to lead, electronics can contain chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants, presenting problems if not disposed of properly. Extending the life of your electronics or donating your most up-to-date and working electronics can save you money and save valuable resources. Safely recycling outdated electronics can promote the safe management of hazardous components and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable materials.
Benefits of e-cycling for humans and the environment
Using proper disposal methods helps to keep harmful metals such as the lead found in computer montiors out of landfills, which is also resulting in the protection of nearby ground water supplies from potential metal contamination from landfill leachate. Electronic products that can be reused, result in less energy being required to produce new ones and this saves energy and reduces pollution. Sometimes recycling computers can create a supply of parts and materials that can be used on the manufacture of new products or to refurbish older ones.
This web page provides planning and other information to anyone interested in recycling electronic waste in their local community. It describes how a small town in eastern Montana developed and hosted its own “E-rase your E-waste” event, and how you can do it, too. It even provides some ready-made promotional materials for general use, as well as samples of letters, brochures and posters from the original event to spur your own ideas (see below).
Although small in scope – Sidney, MT has a population of only about 5,000 people, with its home county just topping 10,000 – the project had a big impact after publicity surrounding it attracted the interest of state and even regional waste/recycling officials. As an example, the Sidney “E-rase your E-waste” effort prompted the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to streamline its permitting procedure for community-sponsored e-cycling events, and regional EPA officials are sharing details of the project with other communities across their region.
The June 2005 e-cycling effort in Sidney was initiated by Jackie Couture, a Health and Safety Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service laboratory (USDA-ARS) in Sidney. Couture, concerned about the hazards of dumping outdated lab and computer equipment in local landfills, approached the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) of which she is the chairman and proposed the idea to conduct a community wide “e-cycling” event in Sidney. LEPC representatives embraced the idea and a short time later local emergency and volunteer agencies (CERT and RSVP) joined in support of the effort.
The core group in place, Couture and other representatives from the USDA-ARS laboratory in Sidney identified an e-cycler for the event and developed the “E-rase your E-waste” slogan and logo to promote it. As word of the effort got out, organizers discovered they had hit a nerve. Phone calls and requests for more information from other communities and offers of assistance were received from the general public and from state and other government and private solid waste officials.
As a result of that interest, organizers decided to record the steps they took to set up the event and make that information, along with samples and templates of its promotional materials, available to anyone and everyone interested in establishing their own e-cycling project. That information – and more – is found below.
We'd also like to hear from you if you've hosted a successful e-cycling effort in your area and have tips for others. We'll share them here as well. Happy E-cycling!
The artwork for these materials were developed by USDA-ARS in Sidney, MT, to promote its first e-cycling event in Spring 2005. To encourage others to e-cycle, they are made freely available to individuals and organizations interested in adapting them for their own events. For more information, contact Jackie Couture at email@example.com.
"E-rase Your E-waste" wins 2009 White House "Closing the Circle" award
Richland County’s grass-roots “E-rase your E-waste” community electronics recycling program has earned an honorable mention in the 2009 White House Closing the Circle Awards program for electronic stewardship. The national CTC awards were announced this past month at an official ceremony at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD.
“We’re very pleased and excited about this award,” Jackie Couture, co-chair of the local “E-rase your E-waste” committee and Safety Officer with the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, said. “In particular we’re pleased that this award specifically recognizes the contributions of all our community partners rather than just one agency or individual.” While the award nomination had to come from a federal facility – in this case, the Sidney Agricultural Research Service lab – the award itself puts a special emphasis on federal entities partnering with community groups and individuals, hence the “closing the circle” name, Couture explained.
Participants in the local “E-rase your E-waste” committee, originally formed in 2005 from interested members of the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), include Couture and Co-chair Cindy Eleson (Richland Opportunities Inc.); Butch Renders (Richland County Disaster and Emergency Services); Brian Fay (Sidney Health Center); Kim Youngquist (Richland County Health Department); Rita Jacobson (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program); Zach Yockim (Richland County IT Department); Diane Kalvoda (Lower Yellowstone REA); Julie Brodhead (Richland County Health Department); Russ Houtari (Richland County Public Works); Kelly Logan (County Sanitarian) and Beth Redlin (Sidney ARS). In addition, Midrivers Communication; Sidney city and Richland County officials, and the county’s Solid Waste Committee have also worked with the program to help advertise and offset costs for participants, as well as providing additional drop off times and places.
“It’s definitely a group effort,” Renders noted. “And the local participation has been terrific. I’m amazed at how our community has supported this program by doubling the amount kept out of the landfill every year!”
The national Closing the Circle (CTC) awards are presented annually by the White House Office of the Federal Environmental Executive to recognize outstanding achievements of Federal facilities and their community partners in promoting environmental stewardship. According to a press release announcing the 2009 award winners, nationwide, there were 200+ nominations received in seven different categories (mostly from larger and/or regional Federal offices), with only 15 CTC winners and 13 honorable mentions awarded. Each category included a possible civilian and military award, and there was no obligation to give an award if there were no worthy candidates.
“Looking at the size of some of the entities winning CTC awards, I’m amazed and thrilled that they chose to recognize our efforts at that level,” Couture said.
According to committee members, the unique rural e-waste collection program began here in 2005, when the E-rase your E-waste team initiated only the second ever electronics recycling event held in the state of Montana, and the first in a remote rural area. Since then the program has recycled more than 41 tons of e-waste in annual collection events, 23 tons of it collected just this past year (despite local residents having to pay for the privilege). The inaugural event was a collaborative effort by ARS representatives and community members (drawn from the county’s Local Emergency Preparedness Committee) that continues today. Through its efforts, this federal-local partnership has created a model program for electronics recycling in rural areas, which it readily shares with other communities throughout the country via a website it established that includes free templates of the program logo, posters, brochures, tip sheets and more for others to use in their setting up their own collection events. Communities and schools in 7 states, not all of them rural, are known to have taken up the challenge, adapting materials from the website to set up events in their areas. The program’s colorful logo was also adopted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for its pilot community e-waste collection efforts in Montana in 2006. E-rase your E-waste team members have also been invited to speak about the program at a number of local, state and regional recycling and solid waste association meetings.