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Residents recycle e-junk

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

Instead of putting their old computer monitors, printers and televisions out at the end of the road, Marion County residents are opting for a greener solution to disposing of their electronic junk.

Walter Edwards dropped off about a dozen electronic discards on Household Electronic Recycling day to do his part in making the world a little greener. His old items, which included a keyboard and PC monitor, had been sitting around his house for years. “I am happy they had this today,” he said.

In addition, Dunnellon resident Mark Betcher dropped off two televisions, a computer and a monitor during the event. He said he liked the idea that the items would be recycled.

Betcher and Edwards are a few of Marion County residents who choose to participate in the Household Electronic Recycling day at Dunnellon-Marion County Airport, where residents took advantage of the opportunity to get rid of other outmoded or burned out electronics like keyboards, telephones, answering machines, fax machines, among other items.

Dennis Slifer, Safety Office/Recycling Coordinator for Marion County Solid Waste Department, was hoping that 200 to 300 vehicles would come out for the recycling day. When the six-hour event was over, 363 vehicles had pulled up and dropped off their old electronics. “I’m happy,” said Slifer of the turnout.

After leaving Dunnellon Airport, the items are taken to Creative Recycling, which has locations in Tampa, Tallahassee and Miami. At the plant, a special machine is used to grind, shred and sort an array of electronic items. Once the process is complete, the parts are sold, said Jim Kristof, vice president of sale and procurement for Creative Recycling.

Dumping Analog TVs

Throughout the day, televisions seemed to be the hot item to get rid of. Slifer said two 40-yard containers of televisions were almost full by the end of the day. Mike Morris, driver and collections employee from Creative Recycling, said they have been seeing a lot of televisions being recycled lately, which he attributes to the upcoming conversion of analog TV to digital in February 2009.

In addition to televisions, Slifer said 60 to 80 palates of other recyclable goods were disposed of. Though they did not have specific numbers yet, Kristof estimated that Marion County residents brought in 35,000- to 45,000 pounds of e-junk.

Until 2004, Marion County Solid Waste used grant money to pay for Household Electronics Recycling day events, but expenses have since been taken over by the county. Slifer said for some of the materials to be recycled the county pays Creative Recycling. On the other hand the county gets paid for certain parts.