Outdated cellphones. Broken laptops. Tablets that go unused.
What do you do with these electronic devices once you stop using them? And how can you properly dispose of them?
This dilemma inspired Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D., associate professor of Biology and head of the Sustainability Committee at St. Joseph’s University, New York, to come up with an idea for Earth Week back in April: an e-waste collection.
“We all have a collection of old electronics in our garage, but no one ever has the time to bring them to a recycling center,” said Dr. Rountos, who also directs the environmental studies minor at the University. “This idea stemmed from that notion.”
From April 18 to May 2, members of the St. Joseph’s community were invited to bring electronic waste from home to their respective campuses, where boxes were set up by UPCYCLE, the same company that the University’s IT department partners with to collect e-waste. UPCYCLE then picked up the boxes of old electronics and recycled them.
“The e-waste event was very successful, and the St. Joseph’s community did a great job of coming together to properly dispose of their electronic waste,” said Pamela Lovejoy, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biology and coordinator for the Sustainability Committee at the Brooklyn Campus.
Nearly 200 pounds of waste came from the Long Island Campus alone, with many items collected at the Brooklyn Campus, as well. Old phones, laptops and batteries — all of which should not be thrown away with regular garbage — made the list of the most popular items donated. People also brought in old DVD and CD players, charging cables and more.
During a corresponding Earth Week event, Dr. Lovejoy invited students to participate in a virtual tour of the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, led by Sims’ Education and Outreach Coordinator Kara Napolitano.
“It was really interesting to learn more about the recycling process of household waste in New York City and shocking to learn how many products cannot be easily recycled, even if they have the recycling symbol,” Dr. Lovejoy said.