Electronic waste, known as “e-waste,” is the fastest-growing component of municipal waste, but it can be highly toxic. From 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, the City of Santa Barbara is making it easy for all area residents and businesses to properly recycle old electronics with a free e-waste collection event.
The two-day “drive through” collection at Sears, 3845 State St. (La Cumbre parking lot), makes it extraordinarily easy for local residents and businesses to do the right thing and clear out unwanted devices. There are no quantity limits.
Americans dispose of more than 140,000 computers and over 400,000 mobile devices every day. E-waste represents just 2 percent of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70 percent of our toxic heavy metals. Dangerous substances are present in all our gadgets. Fortunately, when properly recycled, a ton of used cell phones (6,000 phones) can yield $20,000 in precious metals at current prices, including more than seven pounds of silver and 340 grams of gold. Yet unfortunately, only about 25 percent of e-waste is currently recycled.
The City of Santa Barbara aims to better those numbers with this biannual event that makes it simple to ensure proper e-waste disposal. Items that will be accepted at the collection include anything that runs on electricity or batteries, such as computers, laptops, monitors, TVs, stereos, printers, cell phones, microwaves, DVD players, and cables and cords. All hard drives will be completely destroyed and recycled according to FACTA standards. Unlimited e-waste will be welcomed from anyone who drives through.
Unfortunately, the collection cannot accept loose batteries, media (DVDs, CDs, disks, etc.), large appliances (such as ovens and fridges), toner cartridges or fluorescent bulbs. Many of those can go to the MarBorg ABOP facility, the South Coast Transfer Station or be picked up with local trash service. Individuals may call City Trash & Recycling at 805.564.5631 to inquire.
The city hosts two e-waste collection events per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. At the last event in April, more than 1,800 cars brought 150,000 pounds of e-waste to be recycled.
— Sue Sadler represents the City of Santa Barbara.