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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Recycling E-Waste Catching On

Recycling of electronic devices and household hazardous waste is catching on, according to Cordell Jacobs, scale house supervisor at the V.I. Waste Management Authority.

“We get calls every day,” Jacobs said.

He said that just that morning when he arrived at his Bovoni landfill office, three 19-inch black and white televisions and two flat screen televisions that clearly came from someone’s house were there waiting to be recycled.

While collection of unwanted electronic devices was previously called e-waste, the new buzz word is e-devices, Jacobs said.

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While Waste Management previously held what were then called e-waste recycling days, where Jacobs and his staff would drive up to a designated location to collect old computers, printers and the like, that program got the kibosh thanks to the government’s austerity program.

However, Jacobs said, he and staff still pick up unwanted electronic devices at the homes of senior citizens and those who have disabilities.

Instead residents can now take their e-devices and hazardous waste to Waste Management facilities on all three islands.

Jacobs said they patrol the dumpsters to see if any TVs or e-waste has been mixed in, and if so, they bring that waste to Bovoni.

The list of e-devices includes televisions, CD players, video players, cameras, cell phones, telephones, computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, surge protectors, rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, ink and toner cartridges, and power cords and cables for electronic devices.

Waste Management also collects household hazardous waste.

The list of hazardous household waste includes bleach, caulk, fertilizers, fiberglass and resins, fluorescent light bulbs, fungicide, furniture polish, laundry products, mineral spirits, oven cleaner, paint, paint thinners, turpentine, pesticides, pet products, pool chemicals, rust proofing chemicals, toilet and drain cleaners, and wood preservatives.

On St. Thomas, electronic devices and hazardous household waste is delivered to a separate building at the Bovoni landfill.

On St. Croix, the waste is delivered at the end of the Williams Delight building that houses the Waste Management offices.

On St. John, the materials are separated but left outdoors at the Susanaberg Transfer Station, but Jacobs said Waste Management goes to St. John almost every week to pick up device waste.

Once collected, Jacobs said the e-devices are shipped in a 40-foot container to Creative Recycling in Florida. Jacobs said so far this year, Waste Management shipped eight trailers.

“And we’re getting ready to do the ninth,” he said.

Additionally, Jacobs said the Education Department will ship two trailers filled with its e-devices.

Mario Leonard, Waste Management’s director of environmental programs, said it costs $4,675 to ship a 40-foot container from St. Thomas and $5,187 to ship the same-sized one from St. Croix.

As for the household hazardous waste, Jacobs said except for fluorescent bulbs, there hasn’t been enough collected to ship it off island. However, once Waste Management has enough on hand to make a shipment feasible, Jacobs said it will be sent off island to a company that deals with hazardous waste.
Leonard said the agency pays Creative Recycling $10 per television sent no matter what the size because it’s more difficult to dispose of the lead in the television screens. He said that since 2006, 13,663 televisions were shipped to Creative Recycling at a cost of $136,630. Creative Recycling takes the rest of the materials without charge.

Creative Recycling breaks down the electronic waste and recycles all that it can, Jacobs said.

The device waste program doesn’t make a profit, Jacobs said.

While Waste Management accepts residential e-devices at no charge, the government and businesses must pay a couple of fees for the service. The management fee ranges from $100 to $525 a year depending on the number of employees in a company or government department.

They also pay a shipping fee that varies depending on the item. For example, the fee for a computer keyboard is $3. The fee schedule tops out at $50 for items like large copiers, fax machines and printers.

“We use the money for shipping,” Jacobs said.

Waste Management also collects waste oil. Jacobs said in 2011, the agency collected 3,143 gallons. So far this year, it collected 2,765 gallons. Jacobs said the oil goes to V.I. Regulated Waste, which ships it off island for recycling.

Take electronic and hazardous waste to the Bovoni landfill and to Williams Delight from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The waste is accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Susanaberg Transfer Station on St. John.

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