21,000-plus pounds of electronic waste kept out of landfills

In April, dozens of local citizens, businesses, non-profits and government agencies came together to participate in the Ninth Annual Electronics Recycling Event, a program of Cook Inletkeeper. 

Electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of our nation’s waste stream. Electronics may be safe to use, but when discarded they can leak toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and cadmium into our water and air. Additionally, recycling the precious metals in electronics helps reduce the need to find new sources.

One hundred households participated this year along with 25 businesses, non-profits and government agencies, including large volume recyclers such as South Peninsula Hospital, the City of Homer, Homer Electric Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s apparent that having a consistent event helps both individuals and businesses make a plan for properly disposing of their junk electronics.  We get calls months in advance from folks wanting to know when the next event is scheduled,” said Dorothy Melambianakis, the coordinator of the event.

This year, a total of 21,423 pounds of e-waste was collected. The electronics recycling program began in Homer in 2006. Spearheaded by concerned local citizens, it has so far kept more than 153,543 pounds of electronic waste out of local landfills.

Cook Inletkeeper’s future efforts for expanding recycling opportunities throughout the Cook Inlet watershed include supporting the current efforts of the Seldovia Village Tribe to coordinate e-waste removal across Kachemak Bay, and working with other large volume producers of electronic waste that currently do not participate in the event.

“There is still a lot of electronics that end up at our transfer facility, and then are shipped up to the landfill in Soldonta.  Finding ways to effectively reach out to some known sources of this waste is a priority to stem the flow of hazardous materials into the environment,” said Melambianakis.

For more information on Cook Inletkeeper’s Electronics Recycling program visit: http://inletkeeper.org/clean-water/electronics-recycling.