Holland College staff and student initiative makes an electronic recycling impact
SUMMERSIDE – The Green Machine, a student and staff initiative at Holland College, held an Earth Day event on Tuesday to encourage proper disposal of electronic items.
© Michael Nesbitt / Journal Pioneer
Holland College students Andrew Woods, left, and Andrew Falls, right, help Darren Stordy unload boxes of old electronic items. The students are part of the Green Machine at the college, working to lessen environmental impacts. They arranged the public drop-off for Earth Day.
The Green Machine organization at Holland College Waterfront Centre has about 10 members, according to Wind Turbine and Electromechanical Program manager Jeff Cameron. The concept has been operating at Holland College in Charlottetown for about eight years, working to reduce waste and reduce environmental impacts throughout the school year, but this is the first year for the Summerside campus.
Too often, electronics are disposed of improperly, either simply thrown out with garbage or, sometimes, dumped on roadsides. Even in urban areas, electronics have often been placed for pickup by the Island Waste Management Commission contractors.
Locally, electronics are supposed to be delivered to drop-off sites, at the IWMC facility in Wellington Centre, Brockton or New London. There is a separate program for cell phones.
There is no charge for the drop-off. An environmental handling fee has been charged on electronic items at the time of purchase since 2010, as part of the End-of-Life Electronics Stewardship Program.
The drop-off point, which operated from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the rear of the campus building, started piling up electronics shortly after opening.
By the end of the day two half-ton truckloads were collected.
Many of the items were in perfectly functional condition, but electronic advances have made them obsolete.
Darren Stordy brought in a box of electronic “boxes” as well as an old cathode ray tube monitor and a computer tower.
We hold on to things for reasons unknown. Darren Stordy, dropping off old electronics for the Green Machine at Holland College on Earth Day
“It was time to clean out the basement. We hold on to things for reasons unknown,” he mused.
Many of Stordy’s items, including two perfectly useable satellite receivers, had belonged to his brother, who had passed away.
“I have no interest in satellite signals,” Stordy explained.
As he contemplated the pile of electronics that students Andrew Woods and Andrew Falls had helped him unload, he recalled that the record turntable on top – Eric Clapton album still in place – had cost his brother $800.
Graham Hicken dropped off a load of items, including a stereo that he got in 1984.
Much of it was still functioning, but time had moved beyond use.
“I traded a ’72 corvette for the stereo, a motorbike and (some cash),” he recalled, admitting as well that it is something he regrets today.
“It pulls at the heartstrings a bit, but that’s OK,” he assessed.
No final tally was available from the Green Machine effort, but the early indication was that the effort to properly dispose of electronics would be successful.
In addition to the IWMC sites, Superior Sanitation accepts electronic wastes at its 175 Industrial Crescent facility, in Summerside.