Last week Caroline found a little paper announcement saying that one could bring old computers, televisions and all sorts of electrical components to a pick-up location at the local Home Depot for recycling. This event was organized by the local Sierra Club. We both looked at each other and thought what a great idea. Finally here is an opportunity of getting rid of all the old, none operating equipment that has accumulated over the years in the garage. Hey… we are no different than others; our first step of recycling is moving electronics that no longer function to the garage, where it waits, sometimes for years to get to its next step…
I was always fascinated to think about the life span of stuff that people accumulate. Some items are luckier than others, they become sought after antiques. Looking at an antique I tend to wonder who came up with the idea to create it? Who created it? What about all the good bad and “uglies” the item saw during its lifetime; what will the item see or experience next? Will it end up in a garage or be treasured on display. After all, most things that are created tend to live way much longer than the average human being. And yet, often things are neglected and exposed to the elements where they corrode and cause an entire new problem for the future of the environment.
An electrical component, for example, is born in a factory, assembled from many parts that hopefully came from recycled materials. Once the unit is put together and tested and briefly made the acquaintance of many mechanical claws and maybe some human hands it ends up in a box and is shipped to a distribution center. There it waits to be shipped to a vendor. Then it waits again to be purchased by the end-user. A happy new owner will use the unit for about two years. I am told that a computer that is more than two years old is an ancient machine. But never the less, after the equipment was used and hopefully enjoyed during its lifespan the owner gets tired of it because now there are newer and better gadgets out there or simply because it no longer works. People seem to be conditioned to always go for the latest and newest. Now what… The unit ends up hopefully in a recycling bin. But there is a small problem… electronics as well as many other things may not be allowed in the recycling bin you place at the curb every week.
Sure, to do the right thing one should do some research and find out more about what and where to recycle things. By doing so you find out that there are many places throughout your local area; so many that it becomes confusing of what to bring where. Not only is it confusing it is almost like a secret. For example did you know that you can recycle Fluorescent Bulbs at Home Depot or Lowe’s? Or that you can bring rechargeable batteries to Radio Shack, Best Buy, Home Depot, Sears, Staples Verizon Wireless, Wal-Mart and Lowe’s? We also learned that old Tennis shoes are recyclable. Who knew that?
So why not come up with one central place that takes everything. Personally I think people are willing to do the right thing as long as it is not too complicated and does not require too much of their valuable time. I think they would even be willing to make a contribution in many cases so why not plan a home pick-up of all larger recyclables once a year, you know, like paint, used lawnmower engine oil, electronics, chemicals, batteries, etc.?
So many ideas, such a big challenge….
Me? I am happy I found Caroline, who tries to do the right things for the environment. She, as well as many people, realizes how fragile and beautiful Nature is and that it is our responsibility to keep it so. So, we congratulate the Sierra Club for a great idea to bring E-Scrap to Nassau County Florida to collect some of the electronics that used up their purpose.