How To Properly Recycle a School’s Electronic Waste
All too often the chaos of the classroom takes priority over chores such as rubbish collection and recycling. The poor janitor can’t accommodate elaborate recycling requirements on top of the mess those screaming school kids leave behind every day! Give the poor guy a break by making recycling electronic waste easier for everyone, and ensure your rubbish gets put to good re-use.
Find a Reputable Recycling Center
Collecting waste is all well and good, but what do you do with it once it has been gathered? Find a reputable electronics recycling center or depot that’s able to safely and efficiently dispose of your school’s electronic waste. Companies such as Think Recycle offer such a service, and even encourage schools to get involved for fundraising. Yep, the junk the janitor previously discarded actually has some value to recycling companies, and they’re willing to pay you for it. Often recycling companies are willing to pick it up from your school, so make sure you inquire about local pick-up options as well.
Make Recycling Easy
Kids and adults, people of all age, are lazy! If there isn’t an easy way to recycle electronic waste, then few of us will do it. Make recycling easy by providing specialized collection bins in strategic locations throughout your school; such as the staff room, lunch hall, front doorway and even in classrooms. Recycling depots may provide you with specialized bins, or you can make your own out of clearly labelled bins or buckets. Clear labeling is key, as this will help reduce the amount of sorting required later.
Typical Electronic Waste That’s Recyclable
Now you’ve created a system for recycling electronic waste at your school, it’s time to collect items to recycle. You’ll be surprised just how many hidden “rubbish” electronic items can actually be recycled and reused to make new products instead of adding to landfill. Check out these for inspiration:
- Printer and toner cartridges: All those discarded inkjet cartridges from page after page of school assessment have inherent value and can actually be refilled by a proper facility. Encourage students to bring them from home to contribute to your fundraising efforts as well. Toner cartridges from larger printing machines can be recycled in the same way inkjet cartridges can. Collect them in separate bins.
- Old computers: The old laptops and desktop computers your school no longer needs can be sent in for disassembly and reuse. To protect your privacy and security, make sure you clear them of all important data first.
- Cell phones: Nowadays everybody has a cell phone, and everybody wants a new one! Millions of handsets hit landfills every year, adding nasty chemicals to the soil and wasting valuable refined resources. Collecting cell phones is a great way to lower your environmental footprint at home, and at school. Collect batteries in a separate bin as these contain chemicals that require a different facility. Phone chargers can be recycled too, so be sure to put a bin aside for these.
- Batteries: Who could forget batteries – the most commonly discarded electronic item of them all. The humble battery contains chemicals and metals that can be reused when processed correctly. Be sure to collect rechargeable batteries and “disposable” batteries separately.
Recycling your school’s electronic waste can be a profitable exercise. Make fundraising a breeze by taking action in little steps, contacting a recycling depot to get the ball rolling. By implementing an electronics recycling program, you can also play an active role in reducing how much of your school’s waste goes to landfill; and in educating young people in sustainable recycling opportunities.