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La Verne recycles e-waste

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The city of La Verne is heading in a positive direction by promoting the proper disposal and recycling of free electronic waste.

The city held a recycling event Saturday at Bonita High School, where hundreds of hazardous items were collected for proper disposal.

The city’s Public Works Department called for local residents and businesses to bring in their old televisions, computer monitors, cell phones, printers and DVD/VCR players to the Bonita parking lot.

E-waste collection takes place at least twice a year in association with Earth Day to promote recycling and give La Verne residents a convenient way to get rid of their electronic waste.

“It is illegal to throw away any electronic waste, because they contain hazardous chemicals,” J.R. Ranells, senior management analyst for the city of La Verne said. “Since technology turns over constantly, people are always getting new stuff but they don’t know how to get rid of the old stuff.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 35 million pounds of e-waste are sitting in American households and businesses, and only 10 percent to 15 percent of that waste is properly dismantled and recycled.

Which means tons of waste can be found in the nation’s waste stream.

The Computer Take Back Campaign also show that 70 percent of heavy metals and 40 percent of lead can be found in landfills today, eventually returning to citizens in the soil and water.

The campaign, is dedicated to the protection, health and well being of electronics users, workers and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded.

These statistics encouraged the city of La Verne along with ARC International Corporation, which is a City of Industry based certified national recycling company, and Bonita student volunteers to take action and create a drive-through recycle event.

When residents or businesses pulled into the parking lot, volunteers from the high school and ARC employees unloaded the electronics and sorted them by item.

After all the items have been collected, they will then be taken to a recycling facility where they will be dismantled and crushed; hazardous material will be disposed of and valuable metals recycled for later use.

“We hope to provide a good channel for disposal for La Verne residents, and educate them about the importance of recycling their e-waste properly, because less hazardous waste will make it a better city,” said Zoë Au, national event manager for ARC International.

Los Angeles County holds a household hazardous waste round up every Saturday; however, with the event traveling to different locations all over Los Angeles County, it is unlikely that La Verne residents would have access to a convenient location at which to drop off their items.

Therefore the free recycling event is held twice a year to provide the La Verne community with a convenient outlet for their old waste.

Since the county only includes residents in their round-up, the city allows businesses to also contribute.

Proceeds from the recycled items go towards the student volunteers from social science and English classes who are part of the Bonita High School’s CORE program, an accelerated program for the top 100 freshman students of the school, who participate in many service projects throughout the year.

“I think this event is very helpful because we are saving the environment by getting rid of things we don’t need,” said Rebekah Guerra, student volunteer and Bonita High School freshman.

“Hopefully we can show that La Verne cares about the environment and raise awareness for people to recycle their e-waste.”

E-waste accounts for more than half of the hazardous liquids and chemicals in American soil.

The cost for driving to a recycling plant and removing old electronics is far less than just allowing the chemicals to seep into the air and water supply.

The simple act of taking an old television to be recycled can largely reduce the amount of toxins in the environment.

Taking measures such as this can provide cleaner and safer cities all over Los Angeles County.

“We hope to eventually get La Verne into a zero waste mentality, so that everything that can be recycled is, and those that can’t be are properly disposed of,” Ranells said.

More information about ARC International can be found at www.arcic.com.

Natalie Croyt can be reached at ncroyt@ulv.edu

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