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MITN 2012 Recycling Event Generates 11,000 Pounds of Ewaste and Helps 6 Local Organizations

In just 3 hours on a Thursday evening when the Michigan Technology Network (MITN) would usually be learning about the latest technology or visiting with friends at a social hour, the group decided to strengthen their community pillar with the collection of 11,000 pounds of electronic waste. The drive was held at the St. Stephen’s Community Church in Lansing, MI from 5:30 – 8:30 PM and featured a drive thru lane for people to drop off any electronics so that they do not end up in landfills. The goal of this event was to educate the community on the dangers of electronic waste while also giving back. Throughout the event, a team of hardworking IT volunteers took the best of the donated computer systems, deleted all personal data, and built complete usable systems for local charities. Working cell phones were also saved for local women’s shelters. The Michigan Technology Network recommends that people who would like to eliminate their electronic waste properly, save all their cords, batteries, computers, etc. and look for great events similar to this throughout the year. Usually, you can donate through events at the City of Lansing, Goodwill, Best Buy, Padnos, Valley City, etc. Unfortunately, MITN cannot accept electronics year round, but we hope to make this an annual event.

Donation Information

It was truly a win-win for everyone involved since the usable computer systems and parts were pieced together with a hard working IT staff. The 27 working cell phones were donated to two women’s shelters, EVE and MSU Safe Place. Meanwhile, a volunteer IT staff collected and pieced together 17 computer systems that were also cleaned of all personal information prior to donation. Students from Davenport received almost 4 complete computer systems, networking equipment, and a Hard Drive to help build a resource room for church patrons at Ebenezer Church. Career Quest Learning Systems found a home for about 10 computers that were not fast enough to run the latest and greatest, but they do work great in a Linux learning environment. Plus, extra units will help those in financial need have a way to learn more about computers at home. The Greer Community Learning Center has 2 new laptops that will be great for the Senior Classes as those individuals now have a mobile advantage to learn computing. Computers for Kids received 2 computers that will help children who have no access to technology to learn.  These will be loaded with educational software and also used for their school needs. All of these donated goods. It’s energy efficient to rebuild old computers, but only about 2% of PCs ever find their way to a second user, so this was a great way to do our part.

Ewaste Facts and Collection Details

The nation now dumps between 300 million and 400 million electronic items per year, and less than 20% of that e-waste is recycled.  At this event, we helped do our part. The 11,000 pounds of ewaste consisted of an estimated
  • 64 cell phones
  • 57 television sets
  • 24 VCRs
  • 43 printers and scanners
  • 25 speakers sets
  • 16 laptops
  • 98 monitors
  • 42 desktops
  • 41 keyboards
  • 72 mice
  • 59 “assorted electronics” items
  • 8 car batteries

Also, an estimated 100 pounds of batteries and plenty of grateful donors: “I’ve been saving these for so long, hoping someday I’d find someone that would take them.”  The length of all the cords we collected is estimated at 6,156 feet, or 1.16 miles. Some of the oddest or more old-school items include: Hand-held karaoke system, a massive portable Commodore floppy drive, a toaster, a robot, a leather-bound TV, and a PS3 that had been serviced 3 times (and remained broken). Every piece was properly handled through a 3rd party, local electronic waste firm.


Thanks to our GREAT Community Partners

Lastly, this would not have been possible without the great support from the community that brought their ewaste out and the over 30 volunteers who staffed the event.  Special thanks to the Engineers without Borders group for volunteering with us, Cisco for providing some recycling nutrition, Arialink for lending the safety vests, LSJ and WLNS for the event coverage, Pat Barnes-McConnell for her flexibility and our 3rd part recycling vendor for coming through in our time of need! This was one of the most fun, impactful events MITN has had so far and we look forward to planning for it to be bigger and better next year.
Special Thanks to our event partners!