By STEVEN NALLEY
Drowned cell phones, burned-out televisions, blown-out speakers, virus-riddled computers and other broken or obsolete electronics have their place. Amy Counterman, a safety and environmental assistant at Gulf States Manufacturing, said she wants Starkville citizens to know that place is not the trash can.
“Many electronics contain heavy metals and other materials that could pollute our environment if they are not disposed of properly,” Counterman said. “If we send old electronics out with the trash man, they will end up at the landfill where these harmful materials can contaminate the soil we grow our food in and the water we drink.”
Gulf States is teaming up with Ecovery for an electronic waste recycling event at its Starkville plant Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Volunteers from high school age and up are needed to help unload discarded items and collect surveys. Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the event can contact Counterman at 662-324-8737. As of Tuesday, she said volunteer recruiting efforts have had little success, and the event’s hours prevent local schools from getting involved.
“We really just need some people to come help set up, lift electronics out of vehicles and clean up after the event is over,” Counterman said.
Ecovery is an electronic waste recycling company based in Loxley, Ala. Counterman said she routinely volunteers time to promote and improve local recycling efforts, building contacts who brought Ecovery to her attention.
“Gulf States has never hosted an e-waste recycling event before,” Counterman said. “However, they do like to be involved in community outreach and support environmental awareness. Gulf States is a Nucor company, one of the largest steel recyclers in North America. We hope this event is a success, and I am in the process of planning a similar paper shredding/recycling event for April. Since there are no major electronic recycling options in the area, this is a great opportunity for the community. The only other time you can properly dispose of your unwanted electronics is on household hazardous waste day, held one day a year at the landfill.”
Christopher Bardasian, vice president of sales and marketing at Ecovery, said the company’s management and employees are passionate about the environment, and Ecovery looks for recycling partners who share this passion.
“Whether it is cities, counties, parishes, colleges, hospitals, local business or residents, we attempt to provide an infrastructure to properly recycle end-of-life electronic scrap,” Bardasian said. “We are excited about the prospects of our upcoming electronic scrap recycling event with Starkville. We know by combining our efforts we all have a significant impact on the environment.”
Examples of electronic waste Ecovery accepts include desktops, laptops, televisions, printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, stereo equipment, peripherals, VCR and DVD players, home and cell phones, cameras, modems, game consoles, radios, servers and microwaves.
“We at Ecovery are proud of our efforts to keep e-scrap from going into landfills across the country,” Bardasian said. “We look forward to having many more partners in this great cause, and I know together we can help take recycling to the next level.”
Counterman said Ecovery does not accept any items containing hazardous materials. These include several home appliances, such as air conditioners, gas-powered equipment, vacuum cleaners and smoke detectors.
“Air conditioners contain Freon or other refrigerants that need to be properly disposed of by a licensed professional according to existing regulations,” Counterman said. “Smoke detectors sometimes contain a small amount of radioactive material. Proper disposal of smoke detectors varies by type of detector, and the manufacturer should accept them for disposal or provide a disposal option.”