Despite the fact that nowadays many communities in our country have special recycling boxes, there are still places where people deposit their e-waste in common landfills. However, there are also those who help and contribute to the management of e-waste in their locality. The reason is that today it is more necessary to take sustainable actions for the welfare of all.
That’s the understanding of community members in Dillingham, Alaska, who recycled 31 pallets of e-waste at the landfill last August. The effort was made possible by the Friends of the Landfill, a group dedicated to maintaining and caring for the city’s landfill. A dozen volunteers set about baling computers, laptops, microwaves, copiers, and other recyclable devices.
The devices were packed on pallets, and each package was transported in two storage containers. According to Paul Liedberg, president of the coalition Friends of the Landfill, the recyclable material will be transported to Tacoma, Washington where it will be recycled and reused. It is common for the recycling work to include e-waste for reuse, as will happen with Dillingham’s e-waste.
Liedberg is the landfill manager, and he knows how important it is to the community. “The less we put into the landfill, the longer it will last. Really that’s what saves us money in the community. Landfill expenses are significant because there’s a lot that goes into managing a landfill. The more we can divert from the landfill the better,” said Liedberg to KDLG, the community’s public radio station.
Committed to cooperate in e-waste management
The City of Dillingham has been leading e-waste recycling efforts at the landfill for nearly 15 years.Its citizens are committed to continuing to process the waste, as the results are always encouraging. Liedberg says they process an average of one dumpster’s worth of waste each year. The figures motivate them to continue their efforts.
Thanks to the financial support of the Curyung Tribal Council, the coalition continues to work. In 2019, the efforts of the Council and the group succeeded in having two containers full of e-waste shipped. Also this year 2021 Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation teamed up to send transfer containers. Liedberg invites more organizations to participate in the program.
“Because of that help in the past, there isn’t a charge for residents or organizations to drop their electronics off at the landfill. But it really is uncertain in the future where the funding will come from or if we’ll be able to continue this. But I hope we’ll be able to,” said Liedberg according to KDLG radio.
Other alternatives to support recycling
In addition to the electronic recycling that is making a big impact on the Dillingham community, there are other ways people can help reduce waste. One of these is aluminum can recycling. The program consists of citizens taking their cans to the Senior Center, where volunteers shred and recycle them. In this way they collaborate with the elderly and contribute to a minor source of income for the City.
These programs provide income that is used for more recycling projects and other expenses needed by the landfill. After the last shipment to Washington, the Friends of the Landfill team has good expectations for the future, as does the Senior Center program, which expects to send two full containers of cans in the spring.
Friends of Landfill’s recycling and reuse of e-waste demonstrates that citizens are now thinking of better alternatives for waste. Likewise the recycling program at the Senior Center. Similarly, at eSmart Recycling, we work in the recycling of computers and their donation. Our objective is to give value to these devices in the hands of children and families who need them. To date, we have already supported school children in our community and in emerging countries.