Sustain Mizzou combats e-waste through electronic drop-off

A piano keyboard, broken down to its simplest components, sits on display at Sustain Mizzou's event on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2013 outside the Student Center.

A piano keyboard, broken down to its simplest components, sits on display at Sustain Mizzou’s event on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2013 outside MU’s Student Center.

Jackson Hambrick greets students who stop by Sustain Mizzou's tent, located outside of MU's Student Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2013.

Jackson Hambrick greets students who stop by Sustain Mizzou’s tent, located outside of MU’s Student Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2013.

Example of waste

In addition to the waste drive, another project of Sustain Mizzou is placing cell phone collection boxes throughout MU's campus.

In addition to the waste drive, another project of Sustain Mizzou is placing cell phone collection boxes throughout MU’s campus.

The inside of Mid-Mo Recycling's trailer. The products inside will be broken down into components and sold to companies throughout the U.S.

The inside of Mid-Mo Recycling’s trailer. The products inside will be broken down into components and sold to companies throughout the U.S.

The trailer for Mid-Mo Recycling sits in the parking lot of MU’s Student Center, but it’s mostly empty. It is there to house electronics students no longer need. The project is hosted by Sustain Mizzou, an organization that promotes sustainable living through educating the public about protecting the environment.

Sustain Mizzou’s waste drive will last through Friday, Nov. 8. Volunteers, like Jackson Hambrick, will accept electronics such as: laptops, televisions, calculators, microwaves and cell phones.

Hambrick said the event collects an average of 5 tons of recyclables every semester. Last semester it reached 5.2 tons. Hambrick said he hopes the project will continue to grow. As vice president of programming, Hambrick was stationed at the event for an afternoon shift.

When asked where the products go following collection, he explained that Mid-Mo Recycling takes the electronics and breaks them into components. The components are then sold to other companies within the United States. A special emphasis was placed on components being sold within the country because Hambrick said other countries, like India, melt the products in an open fire and chemicals escape.

According to Hambrick, Columbia residents can drop off electronics throughout the year at Mid-Mo Recycling.

But, “they will have to pay a fee to dispose them. It could range from $5 to $30,” he said.

Instead, electronics can be disposed of for free. Flyers around campus list products that will be accepted. There is a wide variety of items, however, Tube TVs (CRT) will be turned away due to a high led powder content.

“We find some weird stuff that people have. Lots of fax machines, surprisingly,” Hambrick said.

Some students, many of which study engineering, play a different role in the waste drive. Individuals can look through the trailer and take what they want from it.

A couple of years ago, a Sustain Mizzou volunteer found a Macbook Pro inside. He just had to replace the keyboard for a couple hundred dollars, Hambrick joked.

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