Recycling. It’s a practice that has been drilled into our everyday lives. Awareness of plastic waste is on the rise, leading to bans on single-use plastic straws and bags, campaigns for reducing waste and opting for reusables, and the organization of beach cleanups to tackle the problem. While separating paper from plastic from aluminum at the transfer station is important, equally valuable is the recycling of e-waste. As technology evolves, gadgets and devices quickly become obsolete to make way for what’s new and hot now. When these items fall by the wayside and are thrown into landfills, the toxic chemicals in electronics can be released into the air and seep into groundwater. Combatting this as part of its annual Earth Day initiative, GeekHampton will host its community e-waste recycling event beginning this Friday.
Heavy metals like lead, barium, mercury, and lithium in electronics can leach into groundwater when improperly disposed, polluting the water and also negatively impacting soil. Burning wires to get to copper can release hydrocarbons into the air. Water quality and agriculture are essential to the East End way of life, making the proper disposal of such items essential to our health and the environment. New York, like half of the United States, has e-waste recycling laws, including a ban on electronics in landfills to help protect the environment. Recycling, however, is not the only way to mitigate the concerns of pollution from electronics.
“It’s important to remember electronics when recycling because they have such an impact on our environment, but also because they may have additional life left in them, whether it’s by passing on an old device to someone who can use it or using the parts in a different machine,” explains GeekHampton’s Sheryl Heller. “Much of the materials used in creating electronic devices can be extracted and reused to make other products. Letting such a resource end up in a landfill is a major lost opportunity.”
Devices can also be passed down to grandchildren as an electronic hand-me-down, or donated to organizations that provide devices to soldiers or families in need. Creative people can even repurpose their old machines into fish tanks and terrariums. During GeekHampton’s e-waste recycling event, customers can also trade-in devices for a credit towards a new product. A computer not older than 2012 and in good working condition can be traded in toward something new and current.
“We try to build computers from multiple used computers in order to donate to worthy causes,” co-owner Mike Avery says, adding another use for outdated electronics. “We donate many computers each year to Hayground School and this year we also donated to Friends of Barrio La Planta Inc. in Nicaragua. The Barrio Planta Project (BPP) provides free supplementary schooling to the children of Latin America.”
Used electronics can be recycled this Friday through Monday in a partnership with KAD Electronics Recycling (KAD), which ensures data security and responsible disassembly. Laptop and desktop computers, monitors, printers, copiers, mobile and landline phones, cables and wires, networking equipment, and power supplies are all accepted. Before bringing these items in, people should backup information on any device they do not want to lose as all materials are shredded and destroyed. Last year, GeekHampton recycled 6,754 pounds of electronics. This year, the East End’s only Apple premium service provider is asking for $10 donations to help offset the cost of recycling. On Friday and Saturday, weather permitting, Joe and Liza’s ice cream will be handing out samples of new spring flavors.
The e-waste recycling event takes place from Friday, April 19 through Earth Day, which is Monday, April 22. The store is closed Sunday. Find more information on GeekHampton’s recycling program at geekhampton.com/ewaste-recycling.