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Electronic waste drives give back to community

By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Even though the first day of spring is about a month away, it’s not too early to begin spring cleaning. Getting rid of electronic waste will be an easy task, as several organizations have scheduled e-waste collection days. The events are not only free and open to everyone, but they also benefit local organizations. The first fundraiser takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Holy Cross School parking lot, located at 4701 Grove St. in Rocklin. The Newcastle Golden Spike Lions Club will hold their collection day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at 169 Taylor Road in Newcastle, near Carol’s Market. And on Saturday, April 17, the Loomis Basin Education Foundation has scheduled its annual electronics recycling drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at Loomis Grammar School, located at the corner of Taylor and King roads. The three events are being conducted in conjunction with California Electronic Asset Recovery, or CEAR, based in Mather, near Sacramento. CEAR will pay the organizations either 5 or 10 cents per pound, depending on the item. “CEAR will be bringing their bins out to the school parking lot for collection,” said Carolyn Petree, Loomis Basin Education Foundation recycling drive coordinator. “Once the bins are filled, they will take them back to their plant at Mather and disassemble the items by hand, putting them in the proper section for responsible recycling. All the computer hard drives will be shredded.” Tereza Majkovic of CEAR said the facility is under surveillance at all times and the hard drives are completely shredded. “When they dismantle the computers, the hard drives are put into a locked cage,” Majkovic said, “and only a couple of people have access to it.” The shredding is also recorded on camera, she said, and the person who does the shredding undergoes a complete background check. “All the material is hand dismantled at our facilities,” where the plastics, metals, circuits, screens and monitors are separated, and “shipped out to our downstream recyclers, and made into new products,” she explained. Majkovic said CEAR is part of the Basel Action Network. “In order to be part of this organization, they audit not only us, but also all of our recyclers downstream, to make sure we only recycle in a way that’s not harmful to the environment.” According to Majkovic, CEAR handled 15 million pounds of recyclables in 2009 and last week it celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its 180,000-square-foot facility at Mather. At last year’s drive, the Education Foundation collected 46,480 pounds of donated e-waste, resulting in a tidy sum of $2,300, Petree said. Because last year’s reimbursement rate was 5 cents a pound for all items, Petree hopes that this year’s total will more closely match the $4,800 earned in the 2008 recycling drive when the reimbursement rate was 5 and 10 cents per pound. The Education Foundation, Petree said, will use the funds to support the seven schools in the Loomis Union School District. “With budget cuts,” she said, “schools need funding now more than ever.” The three upcoming collection drives have the same guidelines. They accept monitors and TVs, desktop and notebook PCs, VCRs, stereos, speakers, keyboards, mice, PDAs, digital cameras, zip drives, telephones, video games, printers and copiers, laser and multi-function peripherals such as scanners and fax machines, and small kitchen appliances such as blenders, mixers and toasters. They do not accept furniture and household appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, washers and dryers. Hazardous waste – which includes fluorescent light bulbs, household and car batteries, paint, pesticides, used and old cleaning supplies, and tires – is also on the “do not accept” list. To make recycling even easier, all collection sites will offer drive-through service, with volunteers unloading items from vehicles. And they’ll do it even if it’s storming, as the collection sites will be open rain or shine.