Area residents with old and unwanted electronics around the house can get rid of the items this Saturday at a special event sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County’s Green-STEM Club.
Jarrett Schnaare, president of the campus organization, said the event keeps electronics out of landfills and potentially hazardous materials out of the environment.
“It benefits our community a lot because there are a lot of old electronics that people keep around their houses,” Schnaare said.
He said businesses also often have outdated or broken items that need to be disposed, and Saturday’s event is meant to help.
Diane Heyde-Peterson, event and PR coordinator for 5R Processors, a Ladysmith-based recycling company that participates in the event each year, said the electronics recycling drive keeps items from ending up in landfills.
If the students fill a semi truck, the business will give a donation to the club, which aims to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability and promotes the study of science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.
“They’ve pulled two and three semis out at a time, so that’s pretty awesome,” she said.
Last year’s event filled two trailers and generated more than 50,000 pounds of unwanted electronic items to be recycled, said Heyde-Peterson.
“I’m hoping it grows each year,” Schnaare said, adding that he plans to bring in a large projector TV and some Guitar Hero controllers.
Community members can bring in “anything that plugs into a wall,” said Heyde-Peterson.
Some examples of items that can be dropped off for free include computers, monitors, printers, cell phones, microwaves and other electronics. Saturday’s event will offer an optional service to wipe hard drives and clear them of data.
There are some fees associated with certain kinds of items, such as wood speakers or wood console TVs or items with broken glass or Freon, Heyde-Peterson said, adding that some extra work must go into processing those items.
The group is not accepting fluorescent lights, PCBs, corrosives, compressed gas or radioactive, hazardous, flammable or explosive materials.
During the event, cell phones that are collected are set aside and donated to organizations that will give them to people in need.