There is a slight misty rain on Clark Street in downtown St. Louis this morning as Midwest Recycling Center takes in old and broken electronics as well as appliances large and small–basically, anything with a cord. After so much dought in the area, today it rains. I see this as a sign that Ma Earth approves of what we are doing to divert toxic elements from unwanted electronics from the landfill. Did you know that each year, 2 million tons of electronics make their way into the landfill? STLCC is taking this down.
At 11:00 a.m. the truck is half full. Our business neighbors are pitching in to help jump start this 7 event collection. So far, we have had drop offs from Laclede Gas, Tums and many STLCC Cosand Center employees. I’m wet and slightly cold from standing in the rain asking where folks are from, but bursting with excitment because this waste diversion is so important. And did I mention, FREE?
Sustainability work is satisfying because of the partners in the region who want to work to make a difference. Put the word out, and neighbors want to help. Tony Krieg, co-owner of Midwest Recycling Center (MRC), has worked tirelessly to make our region and state a healthier place for his children and future generations. Sitting together at another electronic recycling event at Florissant Valley campus, Tony, his partner Jeff, and I tried to figure out how to get more people to come to the events. What if we off-set the cost for TVs and monitors? So MRC wrote the grant for money to do just this with STLCC supporting letters of recommendation; and St. Louis-Jefferson County Solid Waste Management District came through with the funds. Instead of $15.00 for TVs and $10.00 for monitors, we can offer the events without cost. But make no mistake, there is a TRUE cost for cathode ray tubes due to their toxic elements. The grant helps process these materials responsibly.
I put out the challenge to Cosand colleagues–can we kick off these 7 events with a walloping tonnage? We’re small. We’re few. But are we mighty? In a few hours, we will see just what muscle and spark the corporate offices have to spur on our campuses and their surrounding communities! Stay tuned for these results!