Free Electronics Recycling Event Set for Saturday

January 27, 2009

January 26, 2009 — In time for post-holiday housecleaning, television sets and other electronics can be recycled for free on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Crutchfield's Rio Hill Shopping Center store. 

University of Virginia Recycling is partnering with several local businesses and agencies to take electronic devices, including televisions, computer monitors, laptop computers and cellular telephones. The electronics will be processed by AERC Recycling of Richmond, abiding by the E-Stewards' e-waste recycling guidelines, currently the highest standard.

Crutchfield offers a year-round recycling program, but normally charges a fee to offset its costs, unless the person bringing the item is also purchasing a replacement item.

"This could have a huge impact," said Lindsey Daniels, sustainability coordinator for the University's Facilities Management division, citing the toxic properties of electronic waste. "This would be waste that would not be going to the landfill."

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 26 million television sets, each of which contains about six pounds of toxic material, were discarded in the United States in 2007. The EPA estimated 99 million old TVs also remain stored in people's homes.

Daniels predicted there would be many older TV sets recycled because of the pending conversion to digital television, which will occur in February.

"A lot of people will get new television sets because of the switchover," she said. "And this is after Christmas, which is a time people tend to buy new television sets."

The inevitable question, then, becomes what to do with the old models. "These things are very detrimental and we can avoid contaminating the environment," Daniels said.

Daniels said many U.Va. Recycling employees would be manning the event.

"Crutchfield is proud to offer the region's only year-round electronics recycling place," said Jude DeFrank, Crutchfield's recycling spokesperson. "And we're happy to co-sponsor this free event in advance of the switch to digital TV.”

Daniels said Saturday's event is open to all at the University and in the community.

"At 34 tons, Charlottesville holds the unofficial state record for recycling electronics in one day," said Bruce Edmonds, recycling operations manager with Rivanna Solid Waste Authority. "This was set in 2006. I hope we can break that record."

Among the sponsors of the event are the Charlottesville Community Design Center, Crutchfield, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Rivanna Solid Waste Authority and Papa John's Pizza.

A list of what is being accepted is available online.

— By Matt Kelly