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April 17, 2017, 07:41:44 AM

Gambier now has easy drop-off for recycling electronics

March 24, 2016 - 10:46 PM

GAMBIER — Knox County residents will have a new way to recycle televisions, laptops, cables, cellphones and video game systems starting April 17 at the 10th annual Earth Day Festival at Kenyon College. 

A shipping container will be placed near the Gambier Community Center, 115 Meadow Lane, and open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the festival held at the nearby Kenyon Athletic Center. After the event, the container will be open the first and third Saturdays of every month for anyone in the county to drop off everyday electronic items.

The Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow Joint Solid Waste District awarded Kenyon a $15,200 grant to establish the electronics recycling location as well as to improve recycling collection and signage across campus. 

Kenyon’s Director of Green Initiatives Dave Heithaus believes the partnership is “exactly the sort of direction that the College wants to go in, in terms of providing service to the county.” 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans recycle less than 20 percent of their electronic waste. Many electronic devices contain toxic metals, such as lead or mercury. In landfills, these chemicals either leach into the groundwater or diffuse into the atmosphere. Jenna Hicks, director of the solid waste district that made the grant, said part of her mission is “to keep as much stuff out of the landfill as possible.” 

Hicks said the district’s annual electronics recycling event can’t keep pace with the large amount of discarded electronics in the area. “Knox County [is] kind of a black hole with TV recycling,” she said.

Though most items can be dropped at the Gambier location free of charge, there is a $20 fee to recycle televisions with cathode ray tubes and a $5 fee to recycle computer monitors with cathode ray tubes.

Kenyon recently raised the stakes on its commitment to sustainability with the signing of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. “The amount of solid waste that you can divert from the landfills will be a part of the carbon calculation,” Heithaus said. The College diverts 24 percent of its trash from landfills now, and Heithaus hopes the improved electronics recycling and other new recycling infrastructure will boost that to 35 percent.

During the Earth Day event, residents may also bring up to five boxes of paper to be safely shredded. Paper documents will be stored in locked totes and be transported to Royal Document Destruction, a certified shredding company in Gahanna that has been in business more than 20 years.
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