Be our guest: Concerning e-waste
We are students at Marshfield High School looking to make a difference in the community. Right now most electronic waste ends up in landfills, which negatively affects quality of our land and water. Toxic chemicals seep into the ground, disrupting the ecosystem. For example, when mercury (from discarded electronics) enters waterways, bacteria fixes it into methylmercury, which is consumed by small organisms, then larger animals and fish, and finally humans.
The concentration of methylmercury increases at each level of the food chain, so we are exposed to the greatest concentration of this toxin, which damages the brain, nerves, and muscle coordination. Other toxic chemicals emitted by electronics are, flame retardants, PVC plastic, and lead.
E-waste is not all bad news, though. Gold, silver, copper, and palladium are all metals that can be reclaimed through proper recycling of E-waste. America would save almost 1.4 billion dollars if those metals were reclaimed rather than ending up in landfills. Remember, the Earth is a closed-loop system with a finite amount of these precious metals. It would be great to trust companies to recycle electronics ethically, but unfortunately this is not always the case: some sell the parts illegally or burn components, emitting many toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, which pollutes local communities.
Wisconsin has regulations on electronic recycling: the 2009 Wisconsin Act 50 bans electronics such as computers, televisions and cell phones from being put in Wisconsin landfills and incinerators. Still, many people are not aware of how to properly recycle e-waste. We urge you to please recycle unneeded electronic devices (such as old laptops, phones, etc.) by taking them to the ODC collection site:
Marshfield, 2406 E. 21st Street, open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Stevens Point, 41 Park Ridge Drive, open Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Rapids, 1191 Huntington Avenue, open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
ODC collects computers and similar electronic devices such as tablets and cell phones. The ODC recycles the goods collected locally at Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations in La Crosse and local metal recycling companies such as Express Recycling and Marshfield Scrap.
Greta Hill, Kari Kim, and Hanna Merkel