Adventures in E-cycling

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By Erika Weisensee

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to get organized. Motivated to start actually using my home office again, I spent some time these past few weekends sorting through papers and photos and other random stuff that clutters my intended workspace. I filed things away, put photos in a storage box, rearranged bookshelves, and boxed up things I no longer wanted.

My husband helped out, sorting through his own papers and reorganizing the desk drawers. As we were doing this, we realized that our once tidy office had become a depository for broken or obsolete electronics. Our den was an e-graveyard!

Once we gathered it all up, we were astounded by the extent of our e-waste: An eight-year-old computer we no longer use, an abandoned printer, an old cell phone, a broken digital camera, a dusty TV, a dead ipod, and all the power cords and chargers and cables that go with them.

If this sounds a bit familiar, you’ll be happy to know, there is now help for people like us. As of January 1st, The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and partnering agencies have opened E-Cycle collection sites throughout the state. The sites (225 in all) provide free recycling of computers, monitors and TVs to anyone who brings in seven or fewer items. Some locations also take old printers. DEQ’s website (www.deq.state.or.us) has a list of E-Cycle collection sites and more information.

I’ll admit, when it comes to living green, I’m not perfect. I shower too long and don’t take mass transit, but I am trying in other ways to tread more lightly. It only took a few seconds to look up the E-Cycle site nearest me.  It happened to be a Goodwill just a couple of miles from my house. They accepted the computer, printer and TV. I still had a bag full of power cords and smaller electronics, so I found and called a private recycler in my area. I drove to the business and happily surrendered my remaining e-waste for a fee of $10.

E-cycling is just one way, but an important way, to reduce our impact on the environment. If we all do a little, we can make a big difference.

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