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E-Waste Event Aims to Recycle Electronics in Nome

KNOM volunteer Matty Guiffré takes part in Nome's 2011 e-waste collection. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

As the City of Nome and other communities in the region begin spring cleaning efforts, an annual event to reclaim recyclable electronics is gearing up for a big collection.

Anahma Shannon, the environmental coordinator for Kawerak organizing the electronic waste, or e-waste, event on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is urging people to be selective with what they place in their yellow trash bags.

Shannon said the e-waste event is looking for “TVs, computers, old printers,” and more. “We definitely want old cell phones or any of those kinds of electronics.”

Shannon said the e-waste drive extends beyond electronics, and into lead-acid batteries used in cars, snow machines, and four-wheelers, as well as old printer cartridges and light bulbs.

In addition to aluminum cans, used paper, and household batteries (items already regularly recycled in Nome), Shannon said there’s even a chance to recycle smaller parts of every-day items, and the myriad phone charges and computer cables snaking through countless household desk drawers.

“Maybe you’re disposing of a lamp or something, into the trash, if you wanted to cut the cords off, we would just take cords. You know, old computer cords, or anything like that, those wires in there can be stripped and recycled.”

After it’s collected, the e-waste will be organized into pallets and ultimately shipped down to Seattle for processing. It can be a costly, which is why Shannon said e-waste recycling isn’t free.

“We ask that you pay $0.25 a pound for any of the e-waste that you bring in,” she said. “It can actually get pretty heavy, so we say if you bring a carload or a truck load in, we’re not going to charge you any more than $10.”

In addition to the event in Nome, Kawerak’s environmental coordinators in communities around the region have been collecting e-waste throughout the winter. Bering Air flies it to Nome for free as backhaul, and already Shannon says there’s about 10,000 pounds of e-waste ready to leave Nome.

The e-waste event is Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31. Collections will take place in the parking lot between Kawerak and the Methodist Church on Seppala Drive.