You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, May 2, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

Ditch your electronic junk Saturday at e-waste recycling event

By Amy Biolchini

Washtenaw County residents can unload their old pagers, fax machines and wood-paneled cell phones at an annual electronics recycling event Saturday.

Hosted by the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Public Schools, the event accepts electronic devices free of charge from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer High School at 601 W. Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor.

While some e-waste drives charge donors to recycle heavy computer monitors and TVs, this event is free to the public.

All materials recycled from the event will be processed by Apple Inc. and will stay in the U.S., said Andy Berki, manager of the U-M Office of Campus Sustainability.

When the Ann Arbor e-waste recycling event began in 2008 as a part of a prior agreement between Apple Inc. and the University of Michigan, it brought in about 145 tons of material.

Last year, Apple collected 268 tons of electronics that filled 20 semi truck trailers at the event in Ann Arbor.

The equipment is completely disassembled and shredded so that metals, plastics and glass can be used to make new materials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in May 2011 that people are more actively recycling electronics, estimating that nearly 30 percent of products that have reached the end of their lifespan were recycled in 2010.

Many electronic devices contain hazardous materials like lead, cadmium and mercury that should not be disposed of in a landfill, according to the EPA.

About 70 percent of the donations from last year’s event were old computer monitors, cathode ray tube TVs and hard drives, Berki said.

CRT TVs and monitors constitute about 43 percent of the 2.44 million tons of electronic products that reached the end of their lifespan in 2010, according to the agency’s most recent data.

Though the EPA contends it’s difficult to track the impact of the switch to all-digital formats by television stations in June 2009 on television sales, flat-screen TV sales have edged CRT TVs out of the market in the past five years, while the number of CRT TVs in the market has reportedly remained constant.

Acceptable items at the drive include CRT monitors, LCD displays, computer processing units, laptops, servers, wires and cables, keyboards, mice, speakers, hard drives, TVs, microwaves, camcorders, DVD players, VCRs, cameras, radios, stereos, video games, cell phones, and pagers.

Computer hard drives, processing units and cell phones all go through a mechanical shredder — meaning that personal data stored on the devices will be destroyed, Berki said.

Office equipment accepted includes fax machines, photocopiers, printers, scanners, surge protectors, telephones, typewriters and adding machines.

Workers at the site will unload materials from people’s vehicles during the drive.

Items not accepted include smoke detectors, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, light bulbs, batteries, Styrofoam, hair dryers or TVs with broken screens.

The Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station at 2950 East Ellsworth Road accepts electronic waste year-round — though entry fees are required. Recycling Freon-containing appliances like refrigerators comes at a price of $28. For electronics like computer monitors, TVs and printers, consumers pay a small fee at the station for processing costs.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Ann Reach her at (734) 623-2558,, or on Twitter.



Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

You can recycle mice? Do they have to be alive or dead? :)


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Only dead mice. Live mice will use the pile of recycled computers to construct an ingenious device to try to take over the world. Narf!