Electronic recycling options double

http://sunflowerhorizons.com/photos/2009/nov/13/180506/

Call it Electronic Recycling Wars.

On Saturday, Lawrence residents will have two places to choose from to drop off unused or obsolete electronic items.

Between 500 to 700 vehicles usually arrive at the city’s semi-annual electronic recycling event as residents unload 25 to 35 tons of computer equipment, televisions and small appliances.

For the past several years, the city had used the Topeka-based processing center Extreme Recycling. Earlier this year, the city switched to the Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit Surplus Exchange after evaluating proposals from several electronic recycling and refurbishing companies.

But the change won’t keep Extreme Recycling away from Lawrence that day.

While the city will be gathering electronics at Free State High School, Extreme Recycling will be partnering with Douglas County Bank to provide residents the chance to recycle electronics and shred documents in downtown Lawrence.

Planning a recycling event on the same day as the city’s collection was intentional, said Greg McGrew, the human resources manager for Extreme Recycling.

“For those who have used us in the past, we want to give them another opportunity to use us again,” McGrew said. He expressed his disappointment that the city went with an out-of-state company.

Surplus Exchange was selected based on its cost and the success the organization has had with managing events in Overland Park and Lee’s Summit, Mo., said Kathy Richardson, the city’s waste reduction and recycling operations supervisor.

The city spends a couple hundred dollars to put on the events each year, and residents have to pay to recycle computer monitors and televisions.

Both companies, Richardson said, have good reputations when it comes to how they recycle the electronics.

Extreme Recycling and Surplus Exchange are going through the e-Stewards certification process provided by the Basel Action Network, an organization that is working “to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis.”

Electronic parts won’t end up in landfills, in Third World countries or at the bottom of the ocean, both companies said.

The city’s electronic recycling event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Free State High School’s north parking lot, 4700 Overland Drive.

Computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, televisions, video and audio equipment, microwaves and other small appliances and cell phones are accepted. Computer monitors and small televisions cost $10 to recycle, televisions larger than 19 inches cost $15 and console or projection televisions are $20.

The city won’t accept large appliances with Freon, such as refrigerators, and hazardous household wastes.

Also on Saturday, the Douglas County Bank is hosting a Shred Day from 9 a.m. to noon at its downtown branch at the corner of Ninth and Kentucky streets.

Jayhawk File Express will shred documents for free and then recycle them. The event will also have Extreme Recycling on hand to accept most electronic items (anything that has a power cord and a circuit board). Computer monitors cost $10 to recycle and televisions cost $15.

More from Christine Metz

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