Hundreds of electronic items were recycled at the Parsons E-Waste Recycling Day, April 18, 2009 co-sponsored by the University of Kansas Life Span Institute (LSI) at Parsons, along with SEK Recycling (Pittsburg), K-State Research and Extension and the City of Parsons. Citizens of Labette, Neosho, Crawford, Cherokee and Wilson counties in southeast Kansas were invited to bring their unwanted televisions, computers, monitors, microwaves and other electronic devices to recycle at no charge.
In response to popular demand, the City of Parsons extended the one-day schedule and collected additional unwanted electronic equipment from businesses and schools on Monday. By the end of the added day, Kari West, public information officer for the city of Parsons said, “…we loaded all four pup trailers. We collected more than 30,000 lbs. of e-waste that would have probably gone to a landfill.” According to Tausha Clinton of SEK Recycling, “It was the biggest load we’ve ever shipped.”
Fifteen volunteers represented LSI at Parsons staff, family and friends all clad in the new KU at Parsons t-shirts. Though only asked to sign up for a two-hour shift, most volunteers braved the rainy day and stayed well into the afternoon. According to West, an estimated 25 to 30 volunteers helped with the Parsons e-waste collection event.
Keith Martin, Labette County Extension Agent, K-State Research and Extension said, “Your group really came through and made the event a success. KU blue was well represented, I felt a little lonely in my purple. It is amazing what can happen when everyone works together for a common good.”
SEK Recycling received a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to collect e-waste for recycling. Parsons was the first regional collection day and was officially declared a success by the Parsons Sun newspaper. Television news teams covered the event for Channel 7, Pittsburg and Channel 12, Joplin. Chuck Delp, SEK Recycling executive director said that the e-waste would be delivered to Assets LifeCycle, Topeka, a KDHE permitted e-waste processor. Typically, the e-waste processor charges a $5.00 fee to recycle each monitor and $15.00 to recycle each television. A single truckload of 20 monitors saved one savvy recycler $100 on Saturday. Tony Grady, Technical Liaison for Life Span Institute at Parsons said, “We recycled computers, monitors, keyboards, uninterruptible power supplies, printers and miscellaneous electronics. The e-waste collection program saved us time and money as well as freeing space in our storage room.” Another e-waste collection day is scheduled for May 30 in Altamont from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.