While moving out of dorm rooms or apartments in the next few weeks, the last thing on most students’ minds is dangerous chemicals.
But, every year 50 million tons of e-waste is thrown out in Dumpsters and taken to landfills, according to greenpeace.org. These electronics leak dangerous toxins such as lead and mercury into the environment.
Bradley’s Student Green Electronics Campaign is combating these dangers by hosting a drop-off for any and all electronic waste. This means microwaves, coffeemakers, curling irons, straighteners, mini-fridges, old cell phones and computers – essentially anything of any size with a plug or battery can be dropped off.
Leah Moran, the group’s president, said students should take advantage of the program.
“It’s very important not to throw things into the Dumpsters, because once those electronics are in a landfill, it will rain and the electronics can leak toxins like lead into the air and soil,” she said.
Moran also said this program is not just about environmental issues.
“The electronics are taken apart and recycled safely by Recycling of Illinois or broken items are fixed and given to people that can use them,” she said. “It helps local families.”
Also, Moran said the toxins from these products are harmful to other countries as well, because 80 percent of our e-waste is exported to China and other developing countries.
Once it makes its way to other countries, impoverished workers and children take apart these items to make money from the parts, but in the process they are exposed to high levels of lead and mercury.
The group’s first event was last year and Bradley helped recycle 2,500 pounds of waste. This year Moran said the group is hoping to collect 3,500 pounds.
Since starting the group last year, Moran said it has almost tripled in size from about six founding members to more than 20. She attributes the group change to the green movement’s popularity.
“Going green has become very trendy,” she said. “But, it’s a good fad and we hope it doesn’t die out anytime soon.”
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 9 on the Geisert Hall patio. Recycling of Illinois will then pick up the items and dispose of them properly.
Moran said the group is also working toward a year-round drop-off center so students and faculty can recycle e-waste throughout the school year.