Twin Cities begins electronics recycling drive

Rose Conry

Advancements in technology allow Americans to buy the latest cell phone or upgrade their televisions, but the old electronics these new devices replace often end up in the trash.

Sony Electronics Inc., Best Buy Co. and Waste Management Inc. worked together to change this reality by sponsoring a free electronic waste recycling drive for communities across the Twin Cities.

For two days, churches, sports centers, race tracks and fairgrounds turned into drop sites for recyclable electronics. Located in Eagan, Blaine, Eden Prairie, Shakopee and St. Paul, the drop-off sites accepted electronics, such as cell phones, printers, computers, photocopiers, fax machines, DVD players, and many other items.

This electronic recycling drive was predicted to be the largest in Minnesota history. Its sponsors have planned the event as an early Earth Day celebration. Those who brought materials to recycle received a discount coupon to attend Earth Fest, A Party for the Planet, on the following weekend at the Minnesota Zoo.

Besides earning their company an eco-friendly reputation, the sponsors of the recycling drive hope to promote the recycling of electronic waste. With the increasing prevalence of electronics, recycling these products becomes a higher priority. “We have a lot of electronics. It makes sense to recycle them, instead of filling up landfills,” said Mr. Mark Lex, coordinator of the Environmental Club at BSM.

Not disposing properly of electronic waste can lead to damaging effects on the environment. “There are quite a few chemicals in electronics that could be toxic when they get in water,” said Mr. Lex. These include hazardous chemicals like mercury and lead.

Along with avoiding potential danger, recycling electronics salvages useful materials. The recycling process takes separates components of an electronic and prepares them for reuse. “It melts metals and sorts them out. Since some metals like platinum are expensive, it tries to reclaim them,” said Mr. Lex.