This year's IUSB Tough Stuff Recycling Fest was a huge success! I was physically sore (for two days!) from hoisting and wrapping hundreds of TVs and other electronics into pallets on Saturday. Thankfully, about 30 students, faculty, and staff worked together to make this event happen, so I was definitely not alone in this endeavor.
Without further adieu, here are the results:
We collected many, many shoes that will be donated to one of three organizations:
a) Seven 30-gallon bags of shoes to GoodWill (over 200 pounds)
b) Three 30-gallon bags to Nike Grind (soles will be ground up and used to make athletic courts)
c) One 30-gallon bag will be donated to Shoes-4-Africa (gently used athletic shoes are given to people who would not otherwise have shoes in Kenya, Africa)
Styrofoam and Packing Material
Approximately 900 gallons of packing peanuts and packing material were donated to UPS stores, and 900 gallons of styrofoam were sent to Michigan City for recycling.
900 gallons of plastic bags were given to WalMart for recycling.
Over 800 egg cartons were collected. These cartons are being given to local egg farmers.
We conservatively estimate that 100,000 pounds of electronics were diverted from the landfill. 25 of the pallets were nothing but Computers (we estimate 400+). Free Geek Michiana (see below) will test each of the computers, those that are viable will be rebuilt and donated back into the community to help overcome the digital divide and raise the IT capacity of the community as a whole. Electronic equipment contains toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, that can leach into groundwater and contaminate soils. Recovering these toxic metals and other reuseable material from the electronics helps reduce the amount of raw material that needs to be mined and reduces contamination of water, soil, and air from landfills.
Four semi-trucks (donated by Apple Computers) will be collecting this equipment (104 pallets). All of the equipment will be recycled in the United States in an environmentally responsible manner. This collection would not have been possible without the generosity of Apple Computers and the IT technology departments on the Indiana University campuses!
Financial & Community Support
Community members generously donated more than $900 to help cover costs of this event and future sustainability events. During the first two hours, cars were backed up down Mishawaka Avenue, and there was a 20-30 minute wait to drop off. It was great to see individuals who had organized collections within their neighborhoods, and brought materials in pick-up trucks.