The city of Indianapolis, in partnership with a local non-profit organization, will host the second electronic recycling event of the year on Saturday, the day after Earth Day.
The city’s Office of Sustainability partnered with RecycleForce for the 9am to 2pm drive-thru style event at Krannert Park, which is for electronics only. The best rule of thumb is to carry anything with a rope, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Imani Keith said.
“The common objects we see passing are many cell phones, computers, tablets and microwaves,” said Keith. “Really, even chargers – things that people seem to have lying around the house that they no longer use.”
It’s illegal in Indiana to throw out electronics with regular household waste, so Keith said this is a great opportunity for Marion County residents to properly recycle electronics.
“I think it’s not something commonly known that it’s against the law to throw electronics in the trash,” he said. “The metal in electronics creeps into the ground and creates all sorts of problems for the environment.”
Some electronic components contain heavy metals (mercury, lead and hexavalent chromium), which are dangerous for people, so they must be disposed of properly.
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This is where RecycleForce steps in.
The nonprofit not only removes these potentially hazardous materials from the waste stream in the area, but provides citizens returning from jail or prison training for employment and workforce development.
“The main reason we partner with RecycleForce is because it is a local nonprofit organization and it reduces crime through its return employment for citizens returning from incarceration, while also improving the environment,” said Keith.
Since operations began in 2006, RecycleForce has hijacked and recycled more than 70 million pounds of electronic waste providing jobs and services to thousands of returning citizens, said Crista Carlino, director of development for RecycleForce and Indianapolis city councilor.
“We break down (electronics) down to brass pins and then separate the materials with similar objects and ship them to a foundry to be melted down,” Carlino said. “Gold and precious metals are sold and we turn around and take those funds and put them back into the program by hiring people.”
This is the second time this year the organization has partnered with the city for an E-cycle event. The previous January event saw nearly 600 residents carry about 60,000 pounds of recyclable material, Keith said.
“We are expecting a little more than we had in January,” Keith said. “Let’s hope the weather is better”.
You can find a full list of acceptable materials on the city’s website at indy.gov/activity/electronics-recycling-sites, but make sure no items contain refrigerants or hazardous materials. These items can be dropped off at ToxDrop sites in Marion County every Saturday.
Marion residents who want to attend the E-cycle event should queue at Krannert Park and stay in their vehicles, Keith said. The staff will come to collect the electronics in the vehicles.
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“It’s pretty simple,” Keith said, “and very simple and quick.”
Anyone unable to attend the event on Saturday can bring electronics to the RecycleForce at 1255 Roosevelt Ave. The group will also take large appliances with refrigerants, but Keith said a $ 20 donation helps the nonprofit to recycle that hazardous material.
RecycleForce is expanding to a new location, Carlino said, and will therefore be able to hire more returning citizens and expand the amount of recyclable items they are able to process.
The city and RecycleForce hope to hold two more E-cycle events this year, but Keith said the dates have not yet been set.
Here is what is accepted at the event:
- Camcorders / cameras
- Computer (desktop and laptop)
- Digital photo frames
- Digital media players
- DVD players
- DVR / TiVo devices (including cable boxes and satellite boxes)
- External hard drives
- External tape drive
- Game systems and accessories
- GPS navigation systems
- Hard drives
- iPod / MP3 players
- PC cards
- PC speakers
- Televisions (including flat screen) 27 inches or less
- Uninterrupted power supply batteries
- USB drive
- VHS players
Karl Schneider is an IndyStar environmental journalist. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @karlstartswithk
IndyStar’s environmental reporting project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the non-profit organization Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.