SRU’s electronic waste recycling program yields success


e-waste materials being dropped off

Hundreds of old or outdated electronics lined the parking lot of SRU’s Stores Building II during the University’s electronics recycling event April 22. The items will be shipped off to recycling centers, thereby keeping the materials out of landfills.

April 25, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Pallets and parking lots were "overflowing" with old TVs, computers, cell phones and microwaves, as more than 400 participants dropped off at least 2,500 "e-waste" items during Slippery Rock University's fourth annual Electronic Waste Recycling Days.

"Just about every visitor to campus expressed thanks to SRU for sponsoring this event," said Paul Novak, interim executive director of environmental health and safety. "The substantial response is a clear indication of the commitment the residents of western Pennsylvania have toward sustainable practices such as recycling and to environmental protection overall."

The electronics will be processed by environment health and safety and removed from campus by Maven Technologies, which will subsequently supply SRU with certificates of recycling for all the materials.

"With the only real challenges being traffic backups and no volunteers to do the work, this year's event is clearly the most overwhelmingly successful yet in terms of quantities of materials collected and community participation," Novak said.

Offered in conjunction with SRU Earth Days, the April 22-23 recycling drive diverted waste from landfills at no cost to the University, Novak said. Novak said SRU hopes to have the final collection numbers and tonnage by May 2.

Cell phones will be donated to the Hope Phone Program, which makes secondhand cell phones available to people in Africa.

Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations, said he stopped by the Recycling Center at Stores Building II Saturday to contribute old TVs.

"There was easily a two-block line of cars and trucks, wrapping around the Stores II driveway up toward the motor pool," he said. "Stores II was filled to overflowing."

Based upon the community response, it's clear that SRU's free e-waste disposal program was a success. Most programs charge for this service. Since it is illegal to throw old electronics in the trash, too often folks illegally dump them in a field or pitch them in a ditch. This event was a great public service and the public responded in kind, organizers said.

SRU's efforts to dispose of waste responsibly have been extended to other materials, including scrap metal. In 2015, SRU recycled 1 million pounds of scrap metal.

The scrap metal was sold, reaping $130,475 to support campus grounds and facilities costs. SRU's strategic plan commits the University to using sustainable processes and procedures.

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