E-waste totals announced from September collection “E-rase your E-waste” organizers are pleased to report that more than 14 tons of e-waste was collected at the 2015 fall event on Sept. 11-12 in Sidney. Event e-cycler, Yellowstone E-waste Solutions of Billings reported this week that 28,456 pounds had been recycled at the Sidney event. “Once again we are surprised and pleased at the turnout for this event,” Organizer Jackie Couture said in announcing the results. “Our thanks to all who participated, helping to keep these items out of our local landfill so that they can be responsibly recycled or reused where possible.” The 28,456 pounds collected is more than was recycled at last year’s fall event, but totals for the year were down because the group had to cancel its regular spring collection due to a backlog of CRT monitors and televisions clogging warehouses across the country. While the glut eased by fall, the continued high numbers of TVs in storage meant there was a small charge to recycle those items at the September event. Previously they were recycled for free. “We were concerned that the fee might deter participation, but with 92 televisions collected during the event, we saw no real drop off,” Couture said. “And that’s important because television sets contain a lot of lead, a hazardous material if it were to leak from our landfills, so we want to people to be sure and recycle them.” A general breakdown of other items collected this year from the event’s 133 participants (individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations) include: 192 monitors, 189 CPUs, 88 laptops, 151 printers, 7 fax machines, 13 copiers, 92 televisions, 718.5 lbs of batteries, and 324 lbs. of miscellaneous items (phones, keyboards, cameras, scanners, etc.). “It was another great year,” Couture noted. “This latest 14 tons brings our 11-year total to nearly 190 Tons of e-waste recycled from this community and the surrounding area!” Looking forward to 2016, Couture noted that the group plans to reinstate the spring collection event in May.
All welcome at 2015 E-rase Your E-waste event Sept. 11-12
Organizers were happy to announce that the fall E-rase your E-waste Collection event will go on as planned on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12, at the Richland County Shop at 2140 W. Holly in Sidney, next to the Fairgrounds. Members of the E-rase Your E-waste committee canceled their regular spring collection because of a nationwide backlog of televisions and CRT monitors in recycling warehouses.
"We’re happy to announce that the backlog has eased enough so our e-cycler will again be accepting those items at our fall event," Committee Chair Jackie Couture said. However, she added, because there is still a backlog and storage of TVs remains difficult, our event e-cycler, Yellowstone E-waste Solutions of Billings, has instituted a small handling fee for accepting TVs at the September event. "The cost will be between $5 and $10 depending on the size of the TV," Couture said.
All other items will be recycled for FREE. However, if participants want special services such as a hard drive removed, or need official documentation certifying that their hard drive has been destroyed, both are subject to $5 fees.
NO early drop-offs
This year’s fall collection event will once again be held at the Richland County Shop and signs will be posted. Times are Friday 3-7 pm and Saturday 9-3 pm. Please note, the county shop is available for drop offs during event times ONLY, when employees with Yellowstone E-waste Solutions of Billings, our e-cycler, and local volunteers will be available to help with loading and unloading.
Note, too, that anyone in the MonDak region, or even outside it, is welcome to bring their electronic items to the Sidney event during the scheduled hours. You do not need to be a Richland County resident to participate.
What Can I Bring?
For those new to the event, nearly all electronic devices are accepted, Couture said, including computers and their components (printers, scanners, keyboards, etc.), cell phones, cameras, TVs, VCRs, cable TV boxes, fax machines, copiers, stereos, game boys and even specialized electronic equipment used in businesses such as hospitals, law enforcement and manufacturing and even the oil fields.
However, NO consumer white goods, vacuums, light bulbs, CFLs, mercury thermometers, alkaline batteries (rechargeable are okay), or items containing refrigerants (including dehumidifiers), oils, or acids will be accepted. If you are unsure whether your item qualifies you can check out the handy "What to Bring..." handout posted on the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab’s e-waste website at www.ars.usda.gov/npa/nparl/ewaste or call Jackie Couture at 406-433-9422. In addition, a handy "Items List" recycling form is also available at the website to further speed processing time for participants bringing both large and small amounts.
Appointments Recommended for Large recyclers
Local businesses, agencies and organizations with large amounts to e-cycle are asked to make an appointment to drop off their items by calling Jackie Couture at 406-433-9422. Please leave a message.
Where possible larger recyclers are also encouraged to palletize their own items, or send extra staff to help get it done. Details on acceptable items and how to palletize them can be found in the "What to Bring..." handout posted to the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab’s e-waste website noted above.
The "E-rase your E-waste" effort in Sidney is coordinated by members of the Richland County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), Richland Opportunities Inc., and volunteers with other community organizations including the RSVP program. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has also committed funds for advertising the 2015 event and the Richland County Public Works Department makes their facilities available for the collection event in Sidney.
The event originated in 2005 as a means for area residents to recycle their outdated electronics, which often contain harmful materials, including heavy metals, that can endanger the environment and human health when improperly disposed of or just thrown away. Since 2005, the program has kept more than 176 TONS of obsolete electronics out of our local landfills, organizers said, not only preventing potential threats to the environment but also extending the life of the local landfill.
E-waste: Frequently Asked Questions
What is e-waste?
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, mobile phones and fax machines are common electronic products and make up one of the fastest growing segments of our nation's waste stream. The National Safety Council projects that nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years and mobile phones are being discarded at a rate of 130 million per year.
What hazards are found in e-waste?
Computer monitors and older TV picture tubes contain an average of four pounds of lead and require special handling at the end of their lives. In addition to lead, electronics can contain chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants, presenting problems if not disposed of properly. Extending the life of your electronics or donating your most up-to-date and working electronics can save you money and save valuable resources. Safely recycling outdated electronics can promote the safe management of hazardous components and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable materials.
Benefits of e-cycling for humans and the environment
Using proper disposal methods helps to keep harmful metals such as the lead found in computer montiors out of landfills, which is also resulting in the protection of nearby ground water supplies from potential metal contamination from landfill leachate. Electronic products that can be reused, result in less energy being required to produce new ones and this saves energy and reduces pollution. Sometimes recycling computers can create a supply of parts and materials that can be used on the manufacture of new products or to refurbish older ones.
This web page provides planning and other information to anyone interested in recycling electronic waste in their local community. It describes how a small town in eastern Montana developed and hosted its own “E-rase your E-waste” event, and how you can do it, too. It even provides some ready-made promotional materials for general use, as well as samples of letters, brochures and posters from the original event to spur your own ideas (see below).
Although small in scope – Sidney, MT has a population of only about 5,000 people, with its home county just topping 10,000 – the project had a big impact after publicity surrounding it attracted the interest of state and even regional waste/recycling officials. As an example, the Sidney “E-rase your E-waste” effort prompted the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to streamline its permitting procedure for community-sponsored e-cycling events, and regional EPA officials are sharing details of the project with other communities across their region.
The June 2005 e-cycling effort in Sidney was initiated by Jackie Couture, a Health and Safety Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service laboratory (USDA-ARS) in Sidney. Couture, concerned about the hazards of dumping outdated lab and computer equipment in local landfills, approached the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) of which she is the chairman and proposed the idea to conduct a community wide “e-cycling” event in Sidney. LEPC representatives embraced the idea and a short time later local emergency and volunteer agencies (CERT and RSVP) joined in support of the effort.
The core group in place, Couture and other representatives from the USDA-ARS laboratory in Sidney identified an e-cycler for the event and developed the “E-rase your E-waste” slogan and logo to promote it. As word of the effort got out, organizers discovered they had hit a nerve. Phone calls and requests for more information from other communities and offers of assistance were received from the general public and from state and other government and private solid waste officials.
As a result of that interest, organizers decided to record the steps they took to set up the event and make that information, along with samples and templates of its promotional materials, available to anyone and everyone interested in establishing their own e-cycling project. That information – and more – is found below.
We'd also like to hear from you if you've hosted a successful e-cycling effort in your area and have tips for others. We'll share them here as well. Happy E-cycling!
The artwork for these materials were developed by USDA-ARS in Sidney, MT, to promote its first e-cycling event in Spring 2005. To encourage others to e-cycle, they are made freely available to individuals and organizations interested in adapting them for their own events. For more information, contact Jackie Couture at email@example.com.
"E-rase Your E-waste" wins 2009 White House "Closing the Circle" award
Richland County’s grass-roots “E-rase your E-waste” community electronics recycling program has earned an honorable mention in the 2009 White House Closing the Circle Awards program for electronic stewardship. The national CTC awards were announced this past month at an official ceremony at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD.
“We’re very pleased and excited about this award,” Jackie Couture, co-chair of the local “E-rase your E-waste” committee and Safety Officer with the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, said. “In particular we’re pleased that this award specifically recognizes the contributions of all our community partners rather than just one agency or individual.” While the award nomination had to come from a federal facility – in this case, the Sidney Agricultural Research Service lab – the award itself puts a special emphasis on federal entities partnering with community groups and individuals, hence the “closing the circle” name, Couture explained.
Participants in the local “E-rase your E-waste” committee, originally formed in 2005 from interested members of the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), include Couture and Co-chair Cindy Eleson (Richland Opportunities Inc.); Butch Renders (Richland County Disaster and Emergency Services); Brian Fay (Sidney Health Center); Kim Youngquist (Richland County Health Department); Rita Jacobson (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program); Zach Yockim (Richland County IT Department); Diane Kalvoda (Lower Yellowstone REA); Julie Brodhead (Richland County Health Department); Russ Houtari (Richland County Public Works); Kelly Logan (County Sanitarian) and Beth Redlin (Sidney ARS). In addition, Midrivers Communication; Sidney city and Richland County officials, and the county’s Solid Waste Committee have also worked with the program to help advertise and offset costs for participants, as well as providing additional drop off times and places.
“It’s definitely a group effort,” Renders noted. “And the local participation has been terrific. I’m amazed at how our community has supported this program by doubling the amount kept out of the landfill every year!”
The national Closing the Circle (CTC) awards are presented annually by the White House Office of the Federal Environmental Executive to recognize outstanding achievements of Federal facilities and their community partners in promoting environmental stewardship. According to a press release announcing the 2009 award winners, nationwide, there were 200+ nominations received in seven different categories (mostly from larger and/or regional Federal offices), with only 15 CTC winners and 13 honorable mentions awarded. Each category included a possible civilian and military award, and there was no obligation to give an award if there were no worthy candidates.
“Looking at the size of some of the entities winning CTC awards, I’m amazed and thrilled that they chose to recognize our efforts at that level,” Couture said.
According to committee members, the unique rural e-waste collection program began here in 2005, when the E-rase your E-waste team initiated only the second ever electronics recycling event held in the state of Montana, and the first in a remote rural area. Since then the program has recycled more than 41 tons of e-waste in annual collection events, 23 tons of it collected just this past year (despite local residents having to pay for the privilege). The inaugural event was a collaborative effort by ARS representatives and community members (drawn from the county’s Local Emergency Preparedness Committee) that continues today. Through its efforts, this federal-local partnership has created a model program for electronics recycling in rural areas, which it readily shares with other communities throughout the country via a website it established that includes free templates of the program logo, posters, brochures, tip sheets and more for others to use in their setting up their own collection events. Communities and schools in 7 states, not all of them rural, are known to have taken up the challenge, adapting materials from the website to set up events in their areas. The program’s colorful logo was also adopted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for its pilot community e-waste collection efforts in Montana in 2006. E-rase your E-waste team members have also been invited to speak about the program at a number of local, state and regional recycling and solid waste association meetings.