Gadgets Going Green
COLUMBIA - Bryan Bennett began working at Mid-MO Recycling four years ago, thinking it would just be a summer job, but it's turned into much more.
"We said, if you stick with us, we'll try to make you a career out of electronic recycling," said Mid-MO Recycling's Cathy Rubard.
Now, Bennett says he runs the organization. Bennett organized this year's electronic drive. The drive allowed Columbia residents to get rid of old computers, batteries, satellite dishes and even stoves.
"We have it set up drive through style, appliances, anything with a power cord," said Bennett.
""It's nice to be able to let them take care of it. They just took it out of my pick up," said participant Gary Tynes.
It wasn't the first time Mid-MO held an electronic collection, but Columbia residents keep coming back.
"We try and have as many yearly collections as we can," said Bennett.
The collection brought in more than 200 computer monitors and more than 100 televisions. Mid-MO Recycling will send those electronics to St. Louis to be properly destroyed. Mid-MO Recycling takes out the hard drive of the computer and destroys it, so no one can access any personal information that was stored on the computer.
Destroying the hard drive is five dollars for a hard drive already taken out of the computer, and ten dollars if it's left inside.
There's also a fee for the electronics that have to go to St. Louis. The fees range from five dollars for a computer monitor, up to 25 dollars for a copier. But everything else is free to drop off.
The collection site is only on Clark Lane a few times a year--but Mid-Mo Recycling takes in electronics all year long.
Last year alone, the organization recycled almost 500,000 tons of electronics.
"It's a good thing to get rid of things the way you should. T.V. monitors and computer monitors, get rid of them so they don't pollute the landfill," said Tynes.
Lead and other toxic materials get into the landfill when heavy machinery breaks up electronics. Those materials can get into the water supply, and shorten the life of the landfill.
Mid-MO Recycling hopes one day, it will be illegal to get rid of electronics without recycling them.
"Right now you can still leave your monitors, your TVs your microwaves, and that material is going to leach into the water sooner or later."
But for now, Bennett just hopes the collection shows people they do have the option to recycle.
"It gives them a chance to know that we're here. Not too many people know that we do what we do," said Bennett.
This year the collection kept 34,000 pounds of electronics from just sitting in landfills or garages.