Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hazardous Waste Hoedown!

© photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2009

E-Scrap Goes to the

Hazardous Waste Drop

Excuse me while I kick myself. I took this long-planned trip to the dump and forgot my camera. I wanted to display the layout for you. It's not at all scary and strangely quiet, for such a huge, well-organized area. I suppose that could be because we went on July 3rd--sort of a holiday.

I've been collecting this electronic stuff in a corner of my garage for months. Late last Summer we got nailed by one of Florida's trademark electrical storms and blew out nearly everything in the house that was not on a surge protector. Fortunately, that meant we saved all the TVs, major appliances and computers.

That's not to say I didn't have a lot of E-scrap. Check out that picture above and then imagine what is underneath the stuff you can see. Here is my inventory:

  • 4 DVD players

  • 1 boom box

  • 4 wireless home phones (land lines)

  • 1 old fashioned caller id unit

  • 1 digital answering machine

  • 1 desktop computer (not from this storm)

  • 2 CRT's (not from this storm)

  • 1 microwave oven

  • 3 computer keyboards (again, not from this storm)

  • 5 CFL light bulbs

  • 1 scanner

  • 1/2 gallon waxed paper milk container of used batteries collected from all the junk in this haul) Did you know there are batteries inside computers?

  • 6 remote controls

  • 1 cell phone ( not from the storm)

  • 3 computer mice (mouses?)

The inside of the Hazardous Waste Disposal area was amazingly organized. They had giant shipping cartons, with huge labels, for most items like cell phones, batteries, light bulbs, and all sorts of automobile discards like oil, oil containers, etc. When I saw a special box for empty oil containers, I looked around to see if they had a container for chlorine buckets, but didn't see one for those. Despite the fact that they are made of recyclable plastic, the recycling facilities near us won't take them. With all the swimming pools in Florida, that's a surprise, not to mention a real shame.

The E-scrap area for larger items was a series of pallets that people were piling their electronics on. They were all neatly stacked by shape and size, almost as if Suzy Homemaker had done it herself. I didn't expect such organization.

Back against the wall, massive containers that could not be reached, were labeled with the likes of "CRT's, Laptops, Desktop Computers, Keyboards," etc. There was a special tractor with an arm that would load the items into the appropriate container. That would have been fun! A real life, giant Tonka toy to drive.

As we drove away I felt good to know we had cleared all that stuff out, yet there was still a sinking feeling in my stomach about where it has to go. Once they remove the hazardous components from the insides, I don't know if anything else can be recycled or if they just go to Electronic Heaven. That's pretty lame, I know. At least I didn't just toss them in my garbage. That was the main point. I made a check mark on my mental To Do list: E-scrap disposed of properly. Felt good.

You're probably wondering if I've replaced all that stuff. Who could afford to? We axed the landlines and save $40 a month with a cell line added to our family plan--kept the same number too. Most of the rest of the list we were able to do without, but 2 of the DVD players were replaced. They're actually quite a bit cheaper now. That's the only good news.

Most importantly, we added a bunch of these:

Need to read up? This looks to be the most thorough manual I found:

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