Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 5:04 PM on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

18,000-plus pounds of electronic waste kept out of area landfills

On April 28, dozens of local citizens, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies came together to participate in the Seventh Annual Electronics Recycling Event, a program of Cook Inletkeeper.

Electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of the nation's waste stream. Electronics may be safe to use, but when discarded they can leak toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and cadmium into the water and air. Additionally, recycling the precious metals in electronics helps reduce the need to find new sources.

More than 100 households participated this year. This number is on par with turnout over the past several years, but slightly down from last year's record-breaking 130 households.

Thirty businesses, nonprofits and government agencies also participated, a substantial increase from previous years.

"This growing and potentially large volume sector is something that we will be working closely with over the next year as Cook Inletkeeper seeks to expand e-cycling opportunities throughout the Cook Inlet watershed," said Dorothy Melambianakis, community outreach assistant and coordinator of this year's event.

This year, a total of 18,126 pounds of e-waste was collected. This includes 1,154 pounds from the villages of Seldovia, Nanwalek and Port Graham.

"The villages are very interested in having the opportunity to recycle their electronic waste. Village participation continues to grow and Cook Inletkeeper is very excited to work with them in the coming years in ways that will be most beneficial for their unique communities," said Melambianakis.

The electronics recycling program began in 2006. Spearheaded by concerned local citizens, it has so far kept more than 112,821 pounds of electronic waste out of local landfills.

Future electronic recycling efforts include finding ways to expand recycling opportunities throughout the Cook Inlet watershed. For more information visit: http://inletkeeper.org/clean-water/electronics-recycling.