Recyclers prepare for surge

Underneath the Christmas trees in many Greater Lafayette homes this year are the latest electronic gadgets.

Computers, tablets, cellphones and televisions were unwrapped by residents this weekend. And those recipients will soon be looking to unload their older model electronics.

“We are anticipating a surge in material shortly after the Christmas holiday as people get new items,” said David Bluestein, vice president of metals recycling at Oscar Winski in Lafayette.

The company operates an electronics recycling program out of its facilities at 2217 N. Ninth Street Road and offers pickup services, for a small fee, for those needing to get rid of large items.

Midwest Ewaste at 1600 Main St. in Lafayette also accepts most electronic items for recycling. Owner Dave Crouse said the week after Christmas is always busy.

Crouse’s store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and the rest of the week; Oscar Winski’s eRecycling center will be open for the week starting on Tuesday.

“None of this material can go into landfills anymore. That’s illegal,” Bluestein said. “And there’s value to getting it properly recycled.”

There is no charge for most of the items dropped off at the facilities. A fee is assessed for those bringing in older model, deep back televisions that have cathode ray tubes.

Midwest Ewaste also offers pickup service for churches, nonprofits and business sites. A small fee may be charged.

Recycling programs such as those offered in Lafayette help keep hazardous parts of electronic items from getting into landfills where chemicals could ultimately wind up in water supplies.

It also enables some reuse of computers, printers and other items that are simply discarded by owners when they upgrade to the latest devices.

“Some of the older (computers) are faster than new ones people are buying today,” Crouse said. “Just a few years ago the market was all about processor speed, but now when you look at ads … they rarely mention speed.”

Some of the items recycled at Midwest Ewaste are refurbished and sold at the neighboring Computer Reboot store or though online sites such as eBay.

With the ever-growing culture of electronics replacement, Crouse said recycling is more important than ever. He has seen cases where people bring in brand new printers they’ve purchased simply to get the ink cartridges out of the box.

“They did it that way because replacing the ink cartridge (in their printer) would cost more than buying the new printer,” he said. “There’s something wrong with the market that breeds that behavior.”

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