by K.J. Lincoln
AVCP through their Environmental Department hosted an e-waste drive last weekend in Bethel to help folks dispose of their old electronics for recycling. E-waste is the term used for any electronic products that are at the end of their useful life – old computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are some examples.
Recycling helps keep harmful materials out of the landfills that electronic waste contains that could leach into the water.
“AVCP is excited to announce that we are gathering electronic waste (also known as e-waste)…from organizations and individuals for recycling,” said Ben Balivet, the Environmental Manager for AVCP (Association of Village Council Presidents). “AVCP will pay for the recycling costs of two full container vans of e-waste.”
Northland Barge is providing free shipping for four container vans from Bethel, Alaska to Seattle, Washington and Ravn Air will provide discounted rates for backhauling e-waste from Tribal offices throughout the YK Delta region, Balivet said.
The first e-waste drive was held on Friday and Saturday last week on Front Street by the river. On a pallet there was an old 70’s era television set waiting to be loaded into the connex for shipment. In the connex were several computer monitors – the heavy bulky kind, printers, an old battery backup, a television set, a flatscreen monitor, some old hard drives and other stuff. Most of it was neatly wrapped in plastic wrap.
A loaded truck drove up to the drop-off site on Friday afternoon. Balivet and his co-worker Heather Kanuk welcomed them and helped unload their e-waste.
“We’re accepting old electronics, vehicle batteries, light bulbs like fluorescents – anything that is lying around the house that you’re not really quite sure how to dispose of. All the electronic waste contains heavy metals and mercury, stuff that could affect the water,” said Balivet. “That is one thing that we all use out here in this region, it is really important that we think about our impact on our water.”
The recycle team expressed much thanks to AVCP, Northland and Ravn Air and also to Swanson’s and AC who donated sodas and chocolates for their event.
“It has been really successful so far. We’ve got lots of different individuals bringing stuff down. People really seem to have been looking for an opportunity like this to get their electronic waste recycled in a way that is responsible,” Balivet said during the drive. “Hopefully we will have more people coming down. This is the first time doing it. If we get enough response I think it is a really good idea to continue doing this maybe in another month or two. We’ll do one or two more before the end of the summer.”
If you are planning on preparing your e-waste for the next drive the recycle team asks to please not bring any cracked televisions or monitors. Lead acid automotive batteries without leaks will also be accepted as part of their on-going recycling program.