Many grateful Adams County residents stopped by the Hastings Solid Waste Landfill to drop off e-waste for free last week.
The landfill hosted an electronics collection and recycling event all day Friday and for four hours Saturday.
“Everything went very well,” said Jack Newlun, the city’s solid waste superintendent. “Traffic flows were excellent.”
The city has hired The Retrofit Companies in Owatonna, Minnesota, which has hosted the event several times in the past.
The event filled 47 Gaylord pallets – large cardboard boxes – which is approximately 43,000 pounds of e-waste, or about two tractor-trailers full. Each trailer holds 26 pallets.
Newlun said he feels good about those numbers.
“For a day-and-a-half event, the numbers were up,” he said. “The audience was very enthusiastic and enjoyed the program. The Minnesota Rebreather said it was “a very good and worthwhile event” as far as numbers go. I was very happy.”
The recycler accepted up to three laptop computers, three computer hard drives, three computer monitors, three LED or tube televisions, and six fluorescent lights 8 feet or less free of charge.
The event was funded by a $20,000 Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grant Program.
Kerry Nygren, truck driver for The Retrofit Companies, helped smooth traffic. He told everyone dropping off e-waste that they were “the next ‘The Price Is Right’ contestant” as they walked to the drop point. The home improvement companies had two other employees there to remove old computers and televisions from trunks and truck beds.
On Friday morning, Greg Schneider from Hastings dropped off an old tube television that had sat unused for around 15 years.
“I thought it was an opportunity to get rid of the old TV,” he said of the recycling event. “It made me want to do it. Otherwise, it could still sit in my living room for another five years.
He had cleaned rooms a few years before and had to pay to dispose of e-waste.
“It was a carrot on top,” Schneider said. “Why don’t I come today to do this?” »
He appreciated that someone else was there to remove the television from the bed of his van.
“It was good that they had someone to take it out for me because I had a hard time getting it in yesterday,” he said.
Marie Magadan, logistics and customer service manager for The Retrofit Companies, said she has heard from communities where The Retrofit Companies helps with recycling events that communities are having issues with e-waste littered in parks and ditches, which could cause hazardous materials to leak into the ground.
“Somebody will clean it up eventually,” she said. “So I think it’s important for different communities to have these events to have an outlet to have them.”
From Hastings, truckloads travel to The Retrofit Companies processing site in Little Canada, Minnesota. There, electronic waste is sorted.
“Each waste stream could be handled differently,” Magadan said.
The retrofit companies have partnered with electronics processor Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations of Onalaska, Wisconsin.
Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations erases the contents of computers, then destroys the computers.
Batteries and other hazardous materials are removed before entering the shredder.
Magadan said many communities canceled recycling events in 2020. The following year was again slow.
“It will be interesting to see the volumes we get this year,” she said.
Rick Thompson from Hastings also brought a television.
“It’s an excellent service; I really appreciate it,” he said.
He moved to Hastings in May. He had heard that this event would happen.
“We thought, ‘We don’t know when it’s going to happen, but we’ll be ready just in case,’ he said. “It’s good to get rid of it. It really is. is great service.
Ron Fichtner, who lives outside Hastings, brought three computers and a television.
“I think it’s great,” he said of being able to properly dispose of old electronics. “This stuff accumulates. I think it’s just a great program and I really enjoy it.
One of the computers had not been used for eight years because it had become obsolete and could not handle new programs.
Newlun said attendees of the recycling event were in good spirits for several reasons.
“I think some of the factors were that we had a good flow of traffic,” he said. “We had this as a day and a half event where it wasn’t just a few hours where people were rushing. People could adjust their time.”
There was also decent weather – temps were in the 40s and 50s with little wind.
“I think the weather was really in our favor, so that helped,” Newlun said. “I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, ‘We’ve got this old TV that was sitting in the basement that we couldn’t even lift, we brought it out here. ”
Newlun has noticed far more LED TVs than at past electronic recycling events.
“There’s a lot less of the old type of tube,” he said.
He recalled a woman who had brought two flat screen televisions.
“She said, ‘They just don’t last like they used to,’ he said. “So true.