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Laura Knudsen
IU Bloomington Electronic Waste Collection Days

Carissa Hipsher
IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

IU events net 600,000 pounds of e-waste for recycling

April 21, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Events this month at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University South Bend collected an estimated 600,000 pounds of electronic waste for recycling and environmentally safe disposal.

The second Electronic Waste Collection Days, conducted April 8-10 at IU Bloomington, yielded 350,000 pounds of e-waste, according to preliminary results. Some 2,147 cars and trucks dropped off old computers, monitors, TVs and other devices at the purple lot north of Assembly Hall.

electronic waste image

Workers load electronic waste at IU Bloomington.

Print-Quality Photo

At IU South Bend, the Tough Stuff Recycling Fest, carried out by the Center for a Sustainable Future on April 9-10, collected 250,000 pounds of waste consumer electronics items. A total of 1,535 vehicles dropped off waste for the event.

IU East, IU Northwest and Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus also contributed to the total e-waste that was collected at the university sites.

The first Electronic Waste Collection Days program at IU Bloomington took place in April 2009, planned and carried out by interns with the IU Office of Sustainability. Response was strong again this year.

"Free electronic waste collection was a wild idea an IU Sustainability intern, Kristin Hanks, suggested a couple of years ago," said Bill Brown, the IU Bloomington director of sustainability. "Sustainability interns Laura Knudsen and Susan Coleman, along with scores of collaborators, have taken it to the next level with over a million pounds of potentially toxic electronic waste safely diverted from the landfill in the past two years and the entire community has benefited from their vision and hard work."

Carissa Hipsher, coordinator of this year's IU South Bend event, said it "went extremely well. We had great weather and an amazing turnout," she said.

None of the electronics received at the events are processed for resale. Anything that could potentially contain sensitive data, such as cell phones or computers, is shredded. One hundred percent of the equipment dropped off is recycled and kept out of landfills. Recycling services are provided by Apple.

IU and campus sustainability officials will evaluate the need for similar events in the future. A new state law requires electronics manufacturers to pick up much of the expense of recycling e-waste, but it is unclear how widely electronics recycling will become available at little or no cost.