‘Anything with a plug’ wanted at electronics drive

BY SARAH WILSON, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

If there is an extra television or computer lying around the house, now is the perfect time to recycle such items — and possibly even donate them to someone in need.

The nation’s largest Electronics Recycling Drive is celebrating its fourth year in a row in honor of America Recycles Day.

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The drive will take place at Congregation B’nai Amoona on Sunday, November 2 and Monday, November 3, and everyone is encouraged to bring a wide range of electronics and appliances.

B’nai Amoona has partnered with the City of Creve Coeur as well as with Web Innovations Technology Services (WITS), a nonprofit organization that rebuilds electronics and offers free computers to low-income families.

Phyllis Cantor, Social Action Chair at B’nai Amoona said the recycling drive is huge. Last year they collected 12.5 tractor loads of electronics, which is considered to be anything with a plug. Appliances that use batteries or gas are also accepted.

“This year, we think we’ll have even more because of the TV set change,” Cantor said. “The community really needs this. Nothing goes into a landfill. Everything gets sent all over the country to be recycled in a way that is not harmful.”

Angela Haas, President of WITS, agrees that the digital change over will definitely have an impact.

“I believe it will do much better than it has in the past,” she said. “I expect probably anywhere between 12 and 15 tons this year.”

Cantor said the first year, three and a half tractor-trailers full were collected, with six the next year. Last year, 12.5 tractor-trailers were filled with electronics.

Any form of electronics is accepted, including computers, TVs, VCRs, DVD players and monitors. Lawn mowers, blenders, toasters, washers and dryers, alarm clocks, and even video games are accepted as well.

There is a charge to recycle some of the electronics, depending on their size. Monitors and screens cost $5, and TVs range from $10 to $20, because they require special handling due to hazardous materials. However, everything is tax deductible. Data from hard drives can be easily destroyed, so privacy is not an issue.

“Things are put onto their pallet with a forklift, and everything is shrink-wrapped and then put onto the semis,” Cantor said. “So they go into the warehouse already shrink-wrapped.”

She said she is a little concerned about how many items they will receive this year because of the economy, but she is still hoping for the best and thinks there will be a great turnout.

There are also volunteers who build and refurbish the computers. Once they are fixed, they will go to needy families. In return, those families are asked to volunteer 40 hours of their service at the recycling drive. Laptop computers also go to bedfast children as well.

The hours of the drive are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday. The drive takes place in the parking lot at Solomon Schechter Day School, located next door to B’nai Amoona.

Businesses located in Creve Coeur are also asked to donate supplies for the event or appliances.

Volunteers are strongly needed for the event as well. Anyone interested, please contact Angela Haas, President of WITS at (314) 382-1650.