By Crystal Garcia
TERRE HAUTE — Greg Ulm wasn’t surprised to see a steady flow of traffic going through the E-scrap drop-off drive-thru Saturday.
“It’s really exceptional that people are aware that they need to do this and keep these things out of landfills,” said Ulm, president of TREES Inc., “because this stuff has been in their homes for a long time.”
Unlike past E-scrap collections, the group utilized the entire Indiana State University parking lot at Ninth and Chestnut streets, making separate drop-off spots for computer equipment, televisions and miscellaneous electronic waste.
“In January, we just had one end of the parking lot and we were so overwhelmed,” said Paul Reed, director of custodial and special services at ISU, “so we had to do something.”
This is about the seventh time for E-scrap collection, but the second “Super Saturday.” With the help of various sponsors, TREES Inc., the ISU Recycling Center and RecycleForce partnered to host the event.
“We tried to make it more user-friendly and expanded the area so there’s not a long waiting period,” Reed said.
“We’re glad people are doing this and we didn’t want to make it frustrating for them.”
Ila Lloyd expected a long wait after her husband and brother-in-law insisted the drop-off would take a long time, she said, but was surprised to spend no time waiting.
“I think this is fantastic,” the Terre Haute resident said about the service, noting that she called a couple friends to tell them about the event. “I hope they do this a couple times a year.”
Lloyd dropped off a computer, printer, monitor and television.
“It makes the city feel like a small town and community working together,” she said about the event, “as well as the opposite, a city well-organized and used to doing these things.”
About 250,000 pounds of electronic waste resulted in the last “Super Saturday” collection filling nearly 10 semitrailers, Reed said. There was only one semi full of televisions last time, but Reed expected to fill at least three semis with just televisions, he said.
As far as weight this year, Reed said he thinks they collected as much as last year.
Drop-offs were free with a suggestion donation of $5 for a trunk-load, as the most expensive thing about the event is transportation. Reed said it costs between $300 and $400 for each semi-load to be transported to Indianapolis where RecycleForce will dismantle the items.
RecycleForce is an Indiana Workforce Development effort based in Indianapolis that hires recently released prisoners to process and recycle electronics. The program provides the individuals with job training and references for future employment.
Since it started three years ago, 150 people have completed the program, said Tom Gray, president of RecycleForce. He said the company has a dual mission, environmental and social.
It was the second time RecycleForce participated in a Terre Haute E-scrap collection. Gray said he’s glad to be able to form a tight partnership with TREES Inc. and the ISU Recycling Center.
Steve Connelly of Terre Haute, dropped off a van-full of E-scrap, including a computer and a few televisions. This wasn’t his first time participating in E-scrap, he said, noting that he was saving some of his electronic waste until another collection took place and a couple of the TVs belonged to family members.
“I think it’s a terrific ideas because it’s been so hard to recycle electronics,” he said. “… Thank goodness.”
Crystal Garcia can be reached at (812) 231-4271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.