Community turns out for electronic recycling event [Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas]
(Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 08--HARLINGEN -- Laura Robinson had just brought a TV, a printer and a microwave to the Harlingen Recycling Center on Saturday morning.
As volunteers from Marine Military Academy unloaded the materials for the center's Fall Electronics Recycling Day, Robinson explained why she'd come in.
"I have been having them in the house for a long time," she said. "I didn't know where to put them."
None of the items worked anymore. "It would be nice if they could be fixed," she said. "I don't know if people still fix stuff."
It was mid-morning, but John Avilez, recycling coordinator, said people began bringing electronics equipment to the facility at 1006 S. Commerce at about 7:30 a.m., although the event was scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to noon. Microwaves, printers, fax machines, fans, light fixtures, televisions and computers lay spread out in front of the center. Two other volunteer groups, Keep Harlingen Beautiful and workers from Texas Regional Bank, were also unloading equipment from cars and setting them outside before placing them in separate boxes.
The purpose of the recycling day was to keep tons of "e-waste" out of landfills and to promote a cleaner Harlingen, said a press release from Keep Harlingen Beautiful and the City of Harlingen, which hosted the event.
Avilez said he was pleased with the turnout, especially since this was the first event of its kind at the center.
"We already have about 12 boxes full of electronics," he said. "I hope to have 15 to 20 boxes for the event."
He said he hoped to have two electronic collection days per year, one in the fall and another in the spring.
"We've been trying to get this together," he said. "We're finally doing this for our residents. They can still bring them in throughout the year."
The equipment would be broken down and separated into plastics, copper, steel, gold, silver, fiberglass and other substances, said David Avila, a representative for the South Texas Region of Metallic Resources in Brownsville. He was standing in the hot warehouse where the boxes were being stored. One was filled with keyboards, a desktop computer and monitors.
Avila said once the different parts had been separated at Metallic Resources in Brownsville, they would be shipped to the main facility in Chicago. Once there, they would be melted down and sold to U.S. companies. Many of those companies, he said, would use the raw material to make more up-to-date electronics equipment.
"It all stays in the states," he emphasized. "We don't send anything overseas."
The only thing that is sold overseas is the solder from the back of circuit boards.
Back in front of the recycling center, a forklift pulled up to a box full of microwaves and stereos to be hauled to the warehouse.
There were slow periods in which no vehicles were pulling up in front of the center, and then suddenly a steady stream of cars would arrive and the volunteers would spring into quick action.
Darvin Collins drove up in a red truck with a monitor, a radio and a fan.
"It's just stuff I don't need anymore," said Collins, 19. "I have a computer. I've already got new stuff."
Mark Sanchez, the mayor of Combes, had a load of materials in a black truck.
"I brought a laser printer and an older TV," he said. "I decided to participate. Reduce, reuse and recycle."
One of the reasons so many computers have to be recycled, he said, is that they are quickly outdated.
"We have to buy new equipment," he said. "We are at Windows 8. Soon we'll be at Windows 9 and Windows 10. Technology is outdoing us."
Windows is an operating system developed for computers by Microsoft Corporation, a software company.
Volunteers soon clustered around the trunk of a beige sedan driven by Susana Gonzalez, 57, whose young granddaughter sat in the front seat next to her. The volunteers pulled out a microwave and an old computer.
"I've just had them there sitting," she said.
"Thank you for stopping by," said a volunteer.
All the volunteers were very enthusiastic about the work they were doing.
"It's going really well," said Logan Workman, 17, a senior at MMA. "We've had lots of printers, TV monitors, old TVs, looks like it's 1950s."
Melissa Boykin, a volunteer with the nonprofit Keep Harlingen Beautiful, said she was pleased people were bringing so many electronics equipment they can't use anymore.
"Our main goal is to educate people about recycling and keep them out of the landfill," she said. "We're handing out goodie bags with information on recycling and couples for restaurants."
Boykin and other Keep Harlingen Beautiful volunteers were handing out flyers for the City of Harlingen's community-wide trash-off day at Casa de Amistad parking lot at 1204 Fair Park. Citizens will be able to bring furniture, appliances clear of Freon, up to four tires, and more electronics equipment.
That event will take place Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to noon.
(c)2013 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)
Visit Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) at www.valleymorningstar.com
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