Most electronic waste can be recycled, according to Duane Dipman, manager of the Rosewood ECycle center at 2200 Main in Great Bend. By bringing throw-away TVs, copiers, telephones and more to the electronic recycling center, people can keep those items out of the landfill and create jobs for Rosewood Services clients.
With the 51st anniversary of the first Earth Day coming up this Thursday, Rosewood offered an Earth Day celebration on Saturday to highlight the ECycle center and the jobs it creates for people with developmental disabilities.
Children who attended the celebration got to take home tomato seedlings that they planted in biodegradable pots, and they got a sports pack of items that included a coupon from Great Bend Dairy Queen for a free kid’s cone.
“Not only do we recycle, we teach our clients problem-solving skills," Dipman said. Some of the Rosewood ECyle workers were on-site Saturday demonstrating how they safely take apart electronic items and cords. The facility takes “basically, anything you can plug in,” with a few exceptions. Rosewood ECycle does NOT accept microwave ovens, cathode ray tubs (CRTs) and refrigerators.
Electronic items can also be re-purposed to create pieces of art or other items, as demonstrated at the Earth Day celebration. There were wire sculptures and wind chimes. The glass in old computer screens was replaced with felt to make felt boards. Then letters from old keyboards were separated and backed with Velcro, and children were invited to unscramble the letters to spell messages on the board such as “Go green in Great Bend” and “Earth Day every day.” An old computer screen (picture frame, or almost any smooth flat surface) can also be turned into a chalkboard using chalkboard paint.
“Rosewood ECycle recycles nearly 3,000 pounds of goods each month and we’ve been growing almost monthly,” Dipman said. The service, which opened in 2018, also has an enclosed trailer so staff can travel to other counties to pick up items.
Dipman said about 95% of a computer can be recycled. One thing Rosewood ECycle hasn't found a solution for is how to recycle ABS plastic, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. That’s the kind of opaque plastic that’s used for everything from computer keyboards to Lego toys to automotive parts. There are companies that buy this type of scrap plastic, but they don’t want orders of less than 10,000 pounds. So, as part of the Earth Day celebration, Rosewood Ecycle invited participants to share their ideas for finding the solution to ABS recycling in Great Bend.
Even if people missed the Earth Day Celebration, they can participate in making Great Bend green by donating their e-cycle items anytime. There is a Rosewood ECycle bin for 24-hour drop-offs on the northwest corner of the building. People wanting help with their items can ring the bell between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and the Rosewood ECycle team will unload the items for them.