by K.J. Lincoln
The second E-Waste drive in Bethel made a lot of folks happy, happy to get rid of their old electronics in an environmentally conscientious way.
The Association of Village Council Presidents through their Environmental Department provided another opportunity for people to properly dispose of their unneeded e-waste.
The goal is to keep harmful substances that are found in e-waste materials out of our landfills and from leaching into the waterways.
“It’s going good even though it’s a rainy day,” said Heather Kanuk of the AVCP Environmental Department last Saturday afternoon. “We’re still making progress and still accepting e-waste.”
Heather and her co-worker Ben Balivet organized the e-waste drives this summer. So far they’ve helped ship out one full connex container with Northland Barge who is one of the sponsors for their event. Northland is providing the ticket out for the e-waste as backhaul.
Kanuk said she is learning a lot. She recently traveled to Kwigillingok to demonstrate for the IGAP program the safe and correct way to package lead acid batteries for transport.
Folks brought their old electronic equipment to the drop-off area down by the river where the recycle team was gathering the waste and preparing it for shipment. There were computer monitors, old fax machines, non-working printers, and other equipment – all neatly stacked and cellophane wrapped.
Heather was busy helping unload e-waste material while also grilling and serving up hotdogs, chips and sodas for their customers.
A teenaged boy walked up to the drive staging area and handed over a silver laptop to Balivet.
“Thanks, you’re getting rid of your laptop?”
“Yeah,” he said.
Balivet hopes that they can do more e-waste drives in the future.
“This has been a really good service for the community of Bethel,” he said.
So far they have 12 full pallets of e-waste, and 4 or 5 more in progress.
“It is a lot of stuff.”
The recycling team also collected a lot of lead acid batteries.
“The batteries are actually something that we can make money from and put back in our program,” said Balivet. “The idea is that we get self-sustained, maybe not 100% but at least partially, and offset some of the costs of recycling because recycling is expensive.”
Without the help of sponsors, the e-waste drives would not have been possible, Balivet said.
“If we didn’t have Northland pitching in and helping us with shipping, if we didn’t have AVCP, it just wouldn’t happen. Ravn Air also helped out with their discounted price for backhaul e-waste. We also had some help from Swanson’s, the native-owned grocery store which we’re really glad to support and also with AC who has also been very kind to give us hotdogs and these buns. And Sammy’s who gave us the soda. Sammy’s is a great contributor to the community and we really appreciate his help. Everybody made this happen and we’d like to say thank you to all our sponsors. Vitus Energy donated some propane so that was really good too.”
The wind was fresh and clean down by the river during the drive, and there were no bugs.
“Please recycle and keep our rivers clean, we would appreciate that for our future generations. Quyana!” Kanuk said.