Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 11, 2014

Small electronics add to recycling appeal

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — Part of the continued success for the Pauls Valley Recycling Center has been finding ways to take what would otherwise be bumps in the road and turning it into another advantage.

That bump most recently was removing glass as an accepted item for a few of the bins at the drop off location and instead of being just an unfortunate return to the landfill, found a way to replace it with easier to process items.

Found in pretty much any home and possibly cluttering up with no place to go is small electronics, something Chip Pearson, program director at the host organization Garvin County Living Center, has found there is quite a bit of demand for.

“We wanted to find another commodity that was recycled in a lot of areas so that we could add something new to the recycling mix,” said Pearson, noting how they also opened up extra bins to accept more of already accepted plastic and paper items.

“We researched the market to find items suitable for recycling and would not end up in the landfill.”

An example of the items accepted will include empty toner/ink cartridges, cell phones, cameras, wires, cords, cables, video game consoles, mp3 players, GPS consoles and other handheld electronic devices. Pearson noted things like computer monitors or parts will not be accepted as there is a strong likelihood that those could still end up in the landfill.

However, Living Center representative Lisa Driskill noted how plans later on could include planning a massive collection event for a day or two starting this year where people could drop those things off.

This would likely involve the participation of other recycling groups from outside the area coming in with trucks ready to transport items and held at their location next to Valley Farmer’s Market.

He believes this will work much better than glass, which they had to drop as it cost more to ship it than they would get back, compromising the overall ability to have a center.

“We are hoping people are mindful of what they are bringing to the center,” said Pearson, noting how one trip to ship a truckload of glass would cost about $600 and they might only get back $400 once it was sold.

“We were disappointed we had to do it, but it became necessary.”

Pearson wanted to stress how important it was that people understand “small” electronics also does not mean items like microwaves, refrigerators or other bulky household appliances.

He noted how there are places which do accept those items in the area, one in Pauls Valley called Bulldog Recycling along Highway 19 East.

“We’re not expecting a great volume,” said Pearson. “But people have it lying around.”

In the end, Driskill noted how the ultimate goal again is keeping something out of the waste stream, and in the case of electronics, the benefits are even better than if they had kept glass.

She pointed out how those old items often release toxic chemicals as they decay and can instead be taken apart and reused for several different purposes.

Other plans in the future for the recycling center eventually include putting up more detailed signs on what shouldn’t be put into bins and an anniversary celebration for the drop off location in April. The center’s address is 505 South Walnut.

For more information contact Driskill by calling 405-238-7351 or the Living Center at 405-238-7500.