Tuesday, May 5, 2009

eWaste eVent

U of M and Apple Will Host Major Recycling Effort May 14-16

A major recycling event co-sponsored by Apple Inc. and the University of Memphis that resulted in tons of old and unused electronic equipment being properly disposed of last year is returning to campus May 14-16.

The public will be able to drop off e-recyclables on Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the U of M’s Southern Avenue parking lot near the Recreation Center. Professional movers will be on hand to unload recyclable items from vehicles. May 14-15 is set aside for institutions and businesses to drop off material en mass. This location is also on the Southern Avenue parking lot.

Steve Terry, who coordinated last year’s successful event, said it speaks volumes that Apple is returning to Tennessee and the U of M two years in a row.

“This is a big deal for the University and for the city,” said Terry, U of M director of Technology Utilization. “It will give the University a chance to show that it is committed to ensuring a sustainable future for not only the campus, but for the surrounding area.”

The University’s commitment to sustainability has grown dramatically since President Shirley Raines signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment two years ago.

“To address environmental challenges, we are becoming a leader in sustainable technologies and practices while acting as a model for the community,” Raines said. The U of M has formed a Sustainability Committee that is currently defining a strategic plan for the campus.

The May 16 public day will offer an opportunity to recycle CPUs, all-in-one computer systems, laptop/notebook computers, televisions, cameras, printers, copiers, PDAs, keyboards, computer monitors, speakers, audio devices, FAX machines, cell phones and pagers, and other related equipment.

All items including hard drives will be ground down to confetti-like material to ensure information security prior to being recycled.

The world is experiencing a crisis in electronic waste. Toxic materials such as lead, mercury, chlorine and bromine are commonly used in producing computers and other electronics, and if these devices are dumped into solid waste systems after they have outlived their usefulness, the toxins can seep from landfills into groundwater.

About 50 to 90 percent of e-waste collected in the United States is often sent to developing countries for recycling. Once there, local laborers, who are paid only a few dollars a day to extract the precious metals from these materials, compromise their personal health and pollute their local environments by the release of toxins, a by-product of their extraction process which involves the burning of this e-waste material.

Contact Steve Terry at 901-678-2194 for additional information on the electronic equipment recycling effort. Also, visit the U of M's website for more details.

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