West Bay Rotary's annual e-Waste-Plus event coincides with Earth Day

Tons of broken electronics diverted from landfill

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 3:00pm

    ROCKPORT—By noon on Saturday, April 21, a 40-foot truck at the former Rockport Elementary School on West Street in Rockport was packed to the brim with old, discarded and broken electronics, with another 20-foot truck on standby to fill up. West Bay Rotary’s directors and volunteers were on hand to collect, unload and pack up what they call “ewaste” or electronic waste such as televisions, CPUs, monitors, copiers, printers, ink cartridges, FAX machines, scanners, laptops, microwave ovens, stereos, and more.

    The staggering amount they collect every year will never go into the Midcoast Solid Waste Corp. landfill.  The net proceeds from the event will benefit local charities that West Bay Rotary supports.

    “All of the electronics get taken to Lewiston and they pull it all apart, then recycle all of the components,” said Sandy Cox, West Bay Rotary’s Executive director/secretary. “The first year we did this about 10 years ago, we filled up four 40-foot trucks.”

    West Bay Rotary partnered with a number of community organizations and companies to expand utility of the drop offs. Coastal Opportunities collected gently-used clothing, which would be resold for cash donations to the charity.

    Records Management Center, of Bangor, had their mobile shredding truck on site to shred the kind of sensitive documents that identity thieves regularly use to commit fraud such as old bills and receipts, junk mail, account statements, and unused pre-approved offers of credit.

    As many as nine million Americans have their identity stolen every year and shredding documents helps prevent thieves from accessing personal information.

    “Last year we’d shredded approximately 4,000 pounds and so far we’re already up to 5,500 pounds and still have a couple of hours to go,” said an RNC senior manager Ryan Lynch.  “We take it back to our facility, unload it and bale it, then that gets shipped to recycling and paper mills.”

    Additionally, Rockport Police Officer Chris Taylor was overseeing an old prescription drug disposal station. Two bins of hundreds of prescription bottles had already been collected.

    “It gives people a safe way to dispose their old medication and also keeps it from being sold illegally on the street,” he said. “Once we collect it, it all gets incinerated.”

    At the end of the day’s collection, West Bay Rotary reported nearly 400 cars came through with donations, resulting in nearly $4,000.

    For anyone who missed the e-waste day, there are still several options to avoid putting electronics into the town landfill. A number of Midcoast transfer stations such as Midcoast Solid Waste, offer a nominal fee for collecting e-waste.

    For those electronics that could get a second life with a little repair, periodically Midcoast repair Cafés pop up such as Belfast Community Works, which is hosting a free Bike and Electrical Repair Café to be held on Sunday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Belfast Free Library. FMI: visit bcwmaker.space

    All photos by Kay Stephens

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com