E-waste, shred event solves disposal dilemmas

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Old computer and electronic equipment piled up at a previous year's recycling drop-off event.

COVINGTON, Ky. - A free drop-off event on Saturday can help Covington residents get rid of two categories of items far apart on the recycling spectrum: 

  • Boxes of sensitive financial, health or other documents they’ve been meaning to shred. 
  • And obsolete computer and electronic equipment from monitors to microwaves, TVs to towers, and printers to power cables. 
The third-annual Electronic Waste and Confidential Paper Shredding Recycling Drop-off Day takes place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Holmes High School, in the parking lot off of Eastern Avenue.
 
“There’s no reason to put out your old electronics with your trash, where they will spend centuries in a landfill and potentially pollute our air and water with toxic materials like lead and mercury,” said Shannon Ratterman, of Keep Covington Beautiful and The Center for Great Neighborhoods. “This event lets you safely and securely dispose of your unwanted items in a way that is safe for you and the environment.”
 
Last year, some 14.5 tons of paper and e-waste was dropped off, an increase from 7 tons the year before.
 
Volunteers will be on site to help residents unload their material.
 
For guidance on what electronic waste can be dropped off, residents should eye these two lists:
 
Acceptable:
  • All computers and equipment: towers, laptops, monitors, power cords 
  • Keyboards, mice, speakers, cables
  • Telephone equipment, cell phones
  • Printers, fax machines, copiers
  • Stereo equipment
  • TVs, VCRs, Betas, DVRs
  • Cable and satellite boxes
  • Microwaves
  • Rechargeable batteries 
Unacceptable:
  • Thermostats and mercury switches
  • Equipment containing biological waste, chemicals, oils, or fluids
  • Radioactive material, asbestos or PCBs
  • Equipment with tanks or sealed units
  • Light bulbs 
The event is part of the City of Covington and Keep Covington Beautiful’s continued effort to reduce the amount of garbage going into landfills.
 
“It’s working,” said Sheila Fields, the City’s Solid Waste & Recycling Coordinator. “We have seen a significant increase in curbside recycling over the last three years and an actual decrease in trash tonnage.”
 
The numbers are impressive: 
  • A 55 percent increase in curbside recycling participation since June 2014. 
  • An increase from 1,985 tons of curbside recycled goods to 2,320 tons between Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. 
  • And a decrease of garbage collected in the City from 42,593 tons to 41,824 tons in the same time period. 
The size of the recycling containers used by Covington residents is indicative of recycling’s increasing popularity, Fields said. Back in 2014, residents used 18-gallon bins. Four years later they’re using bins holding 35 gallons, 65 gallons or 95 gallons.
 
“And they’re filling them up,” she said.
 
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