Holy E-Waste Earth Task Force!

For a week in April the front of New Vista High School was filled with what could have been trash. The culprits: the Earth Task Force (ETF).

To celebrate Earth Day the ETF partnered with Boulder Community Computers (BoCoCo) to collect and recycle 1488 pounds of e-waste!!

The ETF e-waste drive was kicked off by an unorthodox presentation from BoCoCo during which BoCoCo founder, Eric Jackson, smashed a computer with a sledgehammer during an all-school assembly to show the materials inside. BoCoCo is a community organization that tries to educate people about how to take care of their computers so that they last longer. They also plan to have an “earn a computer” program in which volunteers can earn a computer through hours at the shop.

During Eric’s presentation New Vista definitely got the message. By the first day, the amount of e-waste in the collection area had exceeded what ETF hoped to get in a week! The various electronics overflowed the collection area and even started migrating down the hallway.

The materials being recycled ranged from old PowerBooks and microwaves to 3D projectors and lots of CRT monitors. E-waste causes huge problems in its disposal because it contains very valuable metals that are interlaced with very toxic chemicals. It is commonly shipped off to developing countries where it is broken down in unprotected conditions causing health problems. Many people don’t want to recycle their electronics because they don’t know how, and it because it costs money.

ETF and BoCoCo trucked the e-waste to Eco-Cycle’s Center For Hard To Recycle Materials (CHaRM) where they insure that e-waste is responsibly recycled. There it was weighed and came in at an impressive total of over 1,400 pounds and $446.40. Paid for jointly by ETF and BoCoCo.

The e-waste drive was an effective way to let people know that it really is easy to just take the next step and recycle the old junk in your basement instead of letting it pollute the water and earth in a landfill. It was also a shocking lesson in the electronics glut that’s being created by quickly changing technologies.

This article was written by New Vista High School student journalist Seth Blum and edited by Paige Doughty.

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