Spring cleaning? Recycling at Tech Dump impacts more than the environment

High grade circuit boards and refurbishing process // Photo via techdump.org, credit Open Air Journal

Retrieving high-grade circuit boards // Photos via techdump.org, credit Open Air Journal

Ahh…spring cleaning. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a house and garage cleared of all the junk that accumulated over the past year. But don’t just go crazy filling up the dumpster to prove to the world (and yourself) that you’re not a hoarder—recycling makes a big difference and is easier than you may think.

Each Saturday this March, the nonprofit electronics recycling service, Tech Dump, is hosting Salvage Saturday events at its St. Paul and Golden Valley warehouse locations from 9am–1pm.

“Salvage Saturday events have enabled our consumer customers to easily recycle thousands of pounds of used electronics, keeping toxic materials out of landfills and creating meaningful local jobs,” notes Amanda LaGrange, CEO of Tech Dump. “We want to build on that momentum during March, during spring cleaning time, when people are emptying garages, attics, and closets.”

Related Content: In This Issue | March 2016 | Conservation

While there are a number of recycling centers in Minnesota that will recycle electronics, dropping off computers, TVs, and batteries at Tech Dump not only makes a positive impact on the environment, but also on the life of an individual. That’s because the mission of Tech Dump is to provide stable jobs to economically disadvantaged adults to obtain marketable job skills and a pathway to self-sufficiency.

Tech Dump employees // Photo via techdump.org

Tech Dump employees // Photo via techdump.org

process_ver2_sm1Electronic items collected by Tech Dump are safely and securely broken down for recycling at Midwestern recycling vendors that comply with strict environmental requirements, such as the R2 or e-Stewards certification. Some items, instead of being recycled, are instead refurbished by participants in Tech Dump’s job training program. “Our policies are rigorous but they mean that jobs and revenue stay in the region and our air and water are protected,” LaGrange says.

Both efforts keep harmful materials out of landfills and help reduce the need to mine for virgin resources to manufacture brand new products, the importance of which cannot be understated.

According to EPA estimates from 2009, U.S. consumers and businesses discarded televisions, computers, cell phones, and hard copy peripherals (including printers, scanners, faxes) totaling 2.37 million tons. Only 25 percent of these electronics were collected for recycling—meaning that 1.77 million tons of e-waste was disposed of primarily in landfills, where the precious metals cannot be recovered.

The simple solution: set your electronics aside during spring cleaning and bring them to a Tech Dump Salvage Saturday, or other electronic recycling center. At Tech Dump, most electronic items are free to drop off; some require a small fee to recycle, but all drop-offs are tax-deductible.

Tax deductions, keeping toxic chemicals out of landfills, reducing the need to mine for resources, and creating jobs for people who have trouble finding employment—who knew that recycling a cell phone could help so much?

Learn more about Tech Dump’s Salvage Saturdays at its website, techdump.org.

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About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the managing editor, writer, and photographer at The Growler Magazine.