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Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

IU e-waste collections net over 500,000 pounds of equipment for recycling

June 18, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Electronic waste collection programs at Indiana University Bloomington and IU South Bend were responsible for keeping more than 500,000 pounds of electronic waste out of landfills this spring.

Both campuses collected used computer and electronics equipment from businesses, schools and other institutions May 10 and from the public May 11 during Electronic Waste Collection Days. Totals collected were:

  • IU Bloomington, 141,070 pounds (94,258 pounds from the public, 46,812 pounds from institutions)
  • IU South Bend, 379,933 pounds (113,332 pounds from the public, 266,601 pounds from institutions)

The overall total -- 521,003 pounds for the two locations -- brought to 2.78 million pounds the amount of material Indiana University has collected in five years of e-waste collection events.

This was the last year for E-Waste Collection Days at IU Bloomington, and organizers say the fact that it's ending is an indication of success. Other local entities, including the District and the City of Bloomington, have started offering free collection and recycling of electronic waste.

"E-Waste Days was conceived by a student sustainability intern five years ago to answer an urgent need for responsible and convenient recycling of this hazardous material," said Bill Brown, director of the IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability. "We are pleased that options for local, free, certified, year-round e-waste recycling have been developed to render this event unnecessary.

"We are grateful to our campus and community partners, to Apple Inc. and to all the volunteers who have made E-Waste Days a success," he added.

IU E-Waste Days has provided individuals and institutions with an opportunity for free, environmentally responsible disposal of all manner of electronic devices and equipment. The event has taken place annually at IU Bloomington and IU South Bend and in 2009 and 2011 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Recycling services are provided by Apple.

At IU South Bend, the Center for a Sustainable Future plans to continue the e-waste event through next year and probably beyond. Participation remains strong even though other organizations in the South Bend area offer e-waste recycling, said Mike Keen, director of the center. This year's institutional totals in South Bend were boosted because the project cleared out the warehouse of Bridges to Digital Excellence, an electronics recycling service that closed early this spring.

In Bloomington, the District -- formerly the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District -- has accepted electronic items at no charge at its five drop-off recycling centers since January 2013. It contracts with Electronics Recyclers International, the largest recycler of e-waste in North America, to recycle electrical components into metals, plastic and glass.

"Both the District and ERI specialize in the environmentally safe and socially responsible recycling of electronic waste," said Larry D. Barker, executive director of the District. "The public can be assured that all electronic devices are properly recycled. No electronics are placed in landfills, and nothing is illegally exported to other countries."

The City of Bloomington collects e-waste once or twice a year through its sanitation department.

Another option in Bloomington for getting rid of unwanted but still useable electronic equipment is to donate it to Serve IT, an information-technology clinic at the IU School of Informatics and Computing, which can refurbish items for reuse by community organizations.

Recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and reduces air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. More information about e-waste and its disposal is available from the Environmental Protection Agency website.