As you may know, Small Dog Electronics hosted our second big, public, free ewaste event on Saturday April 19 at our retail store in South Burlington. It was a huge success – we were able to collect over 125 tons of ewaste in just over five hours! Turnout was simply amazing – far exceeding our wildest estimates.
While the event was scheduled from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, cars were already lining up by 7:00 AM. We opened the gates by 8:15, as cars were already snaking around our retail building and out into the road. Fortunately, along with a large crew of Small Dog volunteers, we also had great volunteer support from Ben & Jerry’s, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Seventh Generation. By 8:30, everyone was already hard at work, directing traffic, unloading cars, stacking monitors, and prepping pallets and gaylords. The weather was absolutely perfect : 74 degrees under clear blue skies.
As the morning progressed, the system of pallets was overwhelmed and we had to pile ewaste as neatly as possible in our parking lot. Before long, we were working in a canyon of digital debris, with sedimentary layers of beige and oyster grey.
By far the most substantial component of the ewaste stream was old CRT monitors. These were also the most toxic component. Each monitor is packed with lead (to shield radiation), and most are energy hogs. It’s a very good thing that these are being phased out by flat LCD panels.
By number, the greatest component of waste might have been old printers. Unfortunately, it seems that people give up on their printers quickly.
We received a lot of old CPUs. Not a lot of Macs, though – a few iMacs, a few eMacs, some Performas, a few old PowerBooks. I saw about five iBooks. However, there was a fair number of Apple LaserWriters – I guess people are finally giving up on those. There were many gutted CPU cases.
We received many televisions, VCRs, tape decks, and lots of other old and busted audio equipment.
Al the volunteers who worked on this project put in an extraordinary effort. It’s not typically fun to lift and carry literally hundreds of CRT monitors, but we truly made the most of it and had a blast. The event was a huge success, and it was also fun. The event also proved that people understand ewaste can be toxic, and should not simply be buried of in landfills. The electronics we collected for free will be recycled in the US in a responsible manner. While we will always collect ewaste for our normal .25 per pound throughout the year (the amount we are charged to process and ship the ewaste), we are already thinking about next year. We’ll probably host it in a more traffic-friendly location.
You can see photos from the event on our Flickr page: