Electronic waste or “e-waste” is the term used to identify consumer and business electronic equipment that is being discarded because it no longer works or is no longer wanted. Kind of ironic, since virtually all electrical and electronic items have useful, recyclable parts.
Every time a new tech gadget is announced or new version of something we’ve been using hits the market, something is becoming obsolete. Things like cell phones, tablets, computers, televisions, household appliances, office and medical equipment should all be recycled. Yet many people continue to throw their electronics in the trash instead of appropriately recycling them at collection sites like the one Hardy Elementary School will host on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The Hardy Electronics Recycling and Paper Shredding Event will be held in partnership with Secure E-Waste Solutions (SES) and will benefit the Hardy PTA. It’s open to everyone and will be held between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Hardy parking lot at 5420 Montezuma Road. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, masks will be worn and hands-free removal of items can be done by placing items in the trunk or hatchback cargo area of your vehicle. Just drive up and staff will remove the items for you.
According to Laura Alluin, the Hardy School Principal, this is the first time the event will take place since it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. She says the reason behind the renewed effort is because, “We know while people were at home since March 2020 many families invested in new technology devices and we hope they are ready to dispose of the old gear in a way that is not harmful to the environment.”
The Hardy event is the perfect opportunity to do something good for the health of our community and the education of students right here in our neighborhood. Alluin wants the community to know just how their e-waste donations will help the school. “The money we raise will benefit enrichment programs and materials for the classroom, such as items for science lab activities, cultural performances, or field trips,” she said.
As the useful lifespan of devices becomes shorter and the list of available electronic gadgets gets longer, it has become imperative to understand why we need to recycle. Recycling electronics reduces the amount of waste sent to our landfills and to incinerators. It helps to prevent toxins such as lead, cadmium and mercury from polluting our fragile eco-systems. The danger comes from inhaling toxic fumes and from the accumulation of chemicals in soil and water, which ultimately affects our health, food, groundwater, and natural habitats. Recycling also saves energy and conserves the natural resources that would be used to manufacture new products from raw materials.
It’s not just environmental reasons, there are economic benefits of recycling, too. You might be surprised to learn how much value your old smartphone or laptop has. There is literally gold inside there. Recycling helps to recover these metals and other parts that still have value and can be reused.
Let’s all commit to “reduce, reuse and recycle” for our health and that of future generations. To get ready for the Hardy event, prepare your e-waste donations by removing batteries, ink and toner cartridges, sim and memory cards. Back up wanted data and then let Secure E-Waste Solutions sanitize your devices or refer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or a tech website for methods to permanently remove data. Data destruction is done at the SES warehouse. Paper shredding will cost $10 per banker box. Visit sesrecycling.com or call 858-909-0802 for information and assistance.
Hardy School will also hold a recycling event to coincide with Earth Day in April, 2022. Please save all those unwanted items, especially if the holidays bring you the latest, greatest, newest devices!
—Karen Austin is an Alvarado Estates resident and writes on issues and events in the College Area.