St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley’s electronic collection was the 3rd of 7 recycling events. Saturday October 1st was the quintessential fall day–cool morning temperatures, a light breeze, cloudless blue sky and warm sun. Working with Midwest Recycling crew, I admitted to Tony Krieg, co-owner, that I had “collection anxiety.” This was our 4th year together at Flo Valley. For the past 3 years, the Environmental Quality Commission in the City of Florissant organized the electronic recycling events at Flo Valley. The first year we collected 37,000 lbs of electronics and appliances. The second year, the numbers dropped to 17,000 and the 3rd year to only 10,000 lbs. I couldn’t understand why the numbers dropped–was it poor signage? Not enough advertising? Was it procrastination? “Oh, I’ll just catch the next event.”
So this time I engaged community relations and all my green team leaders to reach out. We decided to do 7 events for those procrastinators to catch up. And indeed this year my “collection anxiety” has been soothed by all the awesome participation on the part of college employees, students and community neighbors.
I decided to challenge each campus to out-do the others. Cosand Center collected 5737 lbs on a rainy day. The second event at Forest Park collected 10,030 lbs! Yahoo! I’m still waiting on the numbers for Flo Valley, but know they will be high! It took 4 large box trucks to take all they collected to their warehouse where they sort, count, weigh, and send off to the appropriate final processing places like Doe Run who process the toxic materials in the cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Other materials are locally processed too. Steal is processed a short 3 miles from the warehouse in Crystal City to Farmington; plastic is processed in Quincy, Illinois, and the various metals like copper are processed through a broker in Illinois as well. For those really unique odd-ball items, his crew singles out and posts them on Ebay. Tony said they have shipped these treasures all over the US and even to Russia!
Diversion is the main goal of any recycling. It is important to keep this waste out of the landfill and away from leaching into our water table. Even more important is to get the toxic lead, zinc, mercury processed here in the US rather than shipping to Asia where materials are burned to extract gold and copper resulting in horrid lung and cancer health problems.
Call me Retro, but I am most interested in reusing. When items can be rebuilt and put back into use, no new materials are needed to create it. No mining. No mixing of petroleum to form plastic casings. There is something COOL about styles of an earlier time.
This past weekend, Wildwood campus was busy too. They collaborated with Cintas and the City of Wildwood to collect and shred 30,000 lbs (15 tons) of paper and some plastic! Tiny Wildwood is a diversion giant, and next they are taking down electronics.
This weekend, Sept 8th, South County Center will have its first collection on Meramec Bottoms Rd off Rt 55 south. And if you are one of those procrastinators out there, help keep my “collection anxiety” at bay by pitching in at Wildwood on the 15th, or Meramec on the 22nd or lastly at Harrison Center in north city on Oct 29th. Let’s keep taking trash!