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Electronic recycling event huge success

March 23, 2013

in Local

By Randy Kirby
Managing editor

Pettis Countians generate a lot of electronic waste, and some of that was brought to a recycling event held Saturday at the Thompson Hills Shopping Center.

The Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Center for Human Services and Surplus Exchange, sponsored the collection event.

“For our first (collection) event, I’m pleased,” commented Chamber Executive Director Connie Smith. “Saturday is the best day to have it. And we’ll have our next one on Oct. 5.”

Bob Akers, executive director for Surplus Exchange, based out of Kansas City (518 Santa Fe Street), was supervising the operation. “We recycle electronics, and we do it properly. We make sure that it’s all done here in the US. These big CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors will get taken apart, the tubes will get put in a vaccuum chamber and crushed, then the flirt that comes out of that will go to Doe Run, in St. Roberts, and they’ll smelt the lead from the silica. The plastic cases will go to a facility in Austin, Texas, and they come back as street signs, so they don’t end up in a landfill,” Akers explained.

“The metals all go to DOWA Eco-System, Co.,  for smelding, so we recover about 95 percent of what we touch,” he noted.

DOWA Eco-Systen Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary company of Dowa Mining Co., Ltd., that was established in October 2006 in order to focus on Environmental Management and Recycling. Dowa Mining Co., Ltd. was originally established in Japan in 1884 as a mining & smelting company.

Is it worth all that effort?

“It’s worth it for the environment, because you think about what kids 50 years from now might be facing … you don’t want this stuff in landfills And everything we’ve touched today, really is hazardous, toxic waste, and needs to be handled with respect and care,” Akers said as his five-man crew, dressed for the cold weather, sorted, palletized and plastic-wrapped the electronic waste for transport in an 18-wheeler.

He added that most collection days take place during the spring and fall, while avoiding the extreme heat of summer and extreme cold of winter.

“We try to do 14-plus (collections) a year,” Akers said. It takes a while for people to warm up to the idea and learn exactly what becomes of the electronics they bring for disposal.

Akers plans to speak to the local business community in anticipation of the October event. “Our goal would be to eventually come down here and service the businesses. We only charge when there is a fee to get the material recycled,” he stressed. “CRTs are the bad guys.”

For a whole lot more information on electronic recycling, visit www.surplusexchange.org or call (816) 572-0444. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.

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