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Town in a race to recycle e-waste

ORNWALL — Wanted: good trash.Make that e-waste; and good, bad or otherwise, it doesn’t matter.The Cornwall Transfer Station is in the running for a $3,000 scholarship and transfer station makeover through WeRecycle!, one of a handful of Connecticut companies that recycles e-waste. More than 85 towns are competing to see who can collect the most electronic equipment, from televisions to computer mice, between Oct. 1 and Nov. 8. Weight divided by the number of residents will determine the winner, which will be announced on America Recycles Day (Nov. 15).“May the greenest town win,” the company announced in its invitation to participate. Cornwall already holds the distinction of being the greenest town in the state, and possibly the nation, when it comes to buying energy from renewable sources. Most residents don’t need any more reason to recycle other than that it’s good for the planet. But as of the start of this year, the state banned electronics from being tossed in with “regular” trash. With the rate at which electronics — televisions, DVD players, printers, monitor, cell phones and more – become obsolete and get replaced these days, it’s a growing issue. Only a small percentage of e-waste is disposed of through recycling programs. And some of that is not handled properly. Much is shipped overseas to be burned and buried by workers unprotected from the toxic substances that are released.According to WeRecycle!, there are as many as 600 million obsolete computers waiting to be disposed of. They would cover six acres stacked a mile high. Each television or monitor contains 4 to 8 pounds of lead. Many “erased” computer hard drives and cell phones contain recoverable, private data.The scholarship money can be used in any way the town decides.As for that makeover, it is aimed at the transfer station office, and offers amenities such as small appliances, furniture or alterations. Transfer Station Operator Steve O’Neil said he’s not sure what they would want to replace. Pretty much everything in it, from the desks to the space heater, are recycled cast-offs.Doesn’t matter. He will be happy knowing Cornwall recycled the most, or at least continues to make the valiant effort that is to be expected.

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