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Archive for March, 2009

Yesterday the House Science and Technology Committee approved legislation designed to authorize funds that would allow grant money to be set aside for e-waste collection and recycling awareness.

The voice vote passage of this bill is a tremendous step towards educating people on the dangers of improperly disposing of e-waste, and helping to improve our environment by leaps and bounds.

For anyone who cares about the health of our planet and being environmentally conscious, take this as an important first step towards the goals we are seeking to achieve.

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There is a good video today on the front page of chron.com about properly disposing of common household chemicals. The video, which can be seen here, shows what can happen when chemicals come into contact with each other, and the reactions that they can create.

Not only is it potentially dangerous for waste disposal workers who pick up these chemicals, but for individual households as well. Whenever toxic chemicals are in close proximity to each other, there is always a prospective danger to people in the immediate vicinity. Help avoid possible injury, property damage and more by being careful with household chemicals, and by being careful with the way in which you dispose of them.

Proper disposal of these toxic chemicals also ensures the safety of our planet by preventing these toxins from finding their way back into the soil and groundwater of our community. If you do not know of a hazardous waste recycling facility in your area, contact the City of Houston Household Hazardous Waste hotline at 713.551.7155 to locate one near you.

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So last week I was at an event we were having, and someone came up to our booth and asked me why land filling e-waste is bad…

At first I thought, is this guy joking? Turns out he wasn’t, and after talking with him for around 10 minutes or so I came to realize that he just simply had not thought about the effects of e-waste before. We had a good conversation, exchanged business cards, and he went back to his office, but it made me realize something; I often tell people that we are trying to help avoid filling our city’s landfills with e-waste, but I often times do not tell them why unless they ask.

I guess that because in my mind landfills are synonymous with irresponsibility, I assume everyone feels that way, which is an error on my part. While many of us do realize that land filling waste is not friendly to our planet, and makes little sense since space is a commodity, not everyone has thought about these things. I just want to share a few reasons why land filling e-waste is so destructive to our environment, and a few figures for you to consider.

  • CRT monitors and televisions contain an average of six pounds of lead each
  • If lead seeps into the water supply it can cause damage in humans to the nervous system, blood system and kidneys
  • In the US approximately 140 million cell phones are discarded every year, most going into landfills. That is over 70,000 tons of potentially harmful e-waste
  • Cell phones and other e-waste contain harmful toxins such as cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PVC plastic and more, all of which are harmful to human, plant, animal and micro-organic life
  • The presence of these chemicals also makes collection hazardous to workers, especially in large quantities like those found in landfills

These are just a few examples of how dangerous landfills can be not only to humans, but to our natural world, water supply, and food chain as well. Next time you are looking at that pile of electronic waste sitting in your garage or closet, please take the proper steps to dispose of it through recycling or reuse.

If it is working, donate it to a school, non-profit organization, or someone else who can use it. If it is not working, find a facility that recycles e-waste such as CompuCycle or contact the original manufacturer to find out how you can properly dispose of it.

Remember, love your planet.

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I would like to extend a huge thanks and congratulations to Bank of America Center and Marianne Lawson for the successful meet and greet last Friday afternoon. Hundreds of employees from the building turned out to meet us and find out more about e-cycling and the program being set up by Hines Management for the Bank of America Center.

From the sound of things it seems that the building is well on their way to becoming LEED certified in no time, so another congratulations goes out to them for that.

I will be at One Shell Plaza next week for a meet and greet as well, not sure of the day, but I’ll keep you posted, so drop by and say hi at the CompuCycle booth if you can.

The response from the last two events really has me feeling good about people’s interest in being environmentally responsible and learning more about electronic waste recycling, so lets keep the ball rolling and all do our part to help keep e-waste out of landfills. Local, dependable e-cycling is an important way that we can all be sure we are treating our planet the way it should be treated, with respect.

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Yesterday I had a wonderful meet and greet with many great people who work in the 1100 Louisiana building in downtown Houston. CompuCycle was there as one of the vendors helping the building towards their LEED certification, and we had a booth in their beautiful lobby where we met and chatted with people all afternoon.

Kudos to Hines Management Company and the 1100 Louisiana building for working so hard towards becoming LEED certified and being environmentally responsible with their waste. Events like these are such an enjoyable experience for us because we get to meet people who care about the same things that we do, and we get to educate them more as to what e-cycling is, and why it is so important. Thank you to everyone who dropped by the CompuCycle booth yesterday and talked with us, we very much appreciate your time.

Today we will be at the Bank of America Center from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM if you have time to come and talk with us, we would love to have the opportunity to meet you. If you are downtown and don’t work at the Bank of America Center, that’s fine too; just take a short stroll through the tunnel – it’s too cold and wet to be walking outside today – and come over and say hi!

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Last week I had a nice lady from Hawaii contact me to find out if we had a location in her state that she could recycle used printer cartridges at. I informed her that unfortunately we did not, but I let her know how she could go about recycling these cartridges locally through whatever means best suited her. Even though we are not located in Hawaii, I was happy to answer a question for someone looking to recycle e-waste, as I always am.

In fact, it put a smile on my face to be able to help this woman in doing something that I care so deeply about. For anyone else who might be searching for an answer to this very same question, here are a few things that you can do to properly dispose of your used printer cartridges or toners.

  • Contact a local retailer who sells printer cartridges and toners to find out if they take these used items back for recycling. Some retailers even offer a monetary incentive back for your used cartridges
  • If there is no local retailer close to you, or you do not know where to inquire, contact the original manufacturer and ask them where you may send the cartridges so that they may be recycled or reused.
  • Alternatively, if you cannot dispose of your cartridges by either of these means, look for e-waste recycling events in your area and drop the items off when these events are being held.

Although ink cartridges may seem like a small amount of waste to concern yourself with, they pose a great environmental risk. Many cartridges contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to air pollution, heavy metals, which need to be recycled, and the ink itself that should be properly disposed of. So while ink cartridges may seem small in size, the risk they pose is quite large, and should be responsibly disposed of in a facility that is equipped to handle this task.

Doing your part to protect our environment is crucial, and this is one easy way that you can be sure your e-waste is not contributing to harming our planet.

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Last week I blogged about a recycling event that CompuCycle was going to take part in this past Saturday, and I’m happy to be able to report that the event was a rousing success! We were out from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM collecting various e-waste from all of the good citizens that showed up to drop off their items for e-cycling or reuse.

We received three and a half 52 foot trailers of e-waste, which amounts to somewhere in the range of 85,000 to 95,000 lbs of electronic waste that will be recycled or reused, ensuring that it does not end up in landfills that will harm our planet. I want to thank and congratulate everyone who attended this event for being so conscientious about how their old electronic equipment is disposed of, and for taking time out of their weekend to participate in this worthwhile event.

We are currently working in conjunction with Hines to bring more recycling events to the Houston area, and will be at the 1100 Louisiana and Bank of America buildings this Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. I will be attending both events to spread the word about responsible e-cycling, so drop by and say hello.

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