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St. Mark Lutheran hosts Electronics Recycling Day
Recycling keeps E-waste out of landfills
Pastor Adam Wutka from St. Mark Lutheran Church in Great Bend is shown with some of the items collected Saturday when the church sponsored its annual Electronics Recycling Day. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune
Samantha Negaard showed a smashed hard drive disk from one of the computers dropped off at the church. Disks were either smashed or returned to the owner to protect the data they contained.

Members of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Great Bend spent Saturday morning hosting a free drop-off for electronic recycling, or e-cycling.

“We’ve had another good year, Pastor Adam Wutka said shortly before the noon closing time. A trailer dropped off earlier by the Barton County Landfill contained discarded printers, computers and other electronic items. Wutka said the landfill runs this program in conjunction with the Rice County Landfill.

The landfills have always accepted unwanted electronics and now they may also be dropped off at the Sunflower Recycling Center, 5605 10th St., and Rosewood ECycle, 2200 Main, but St. Mark Lutheran Church has been offering a collection day for years and continues the tradition, Wutka said.

“We always do it around Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “It gives people a goal.”

So, while collections have dropped off in recent years, Wutka said that’s fine because it’s not a competition; the church’s stated goal is “to be good stewards of God’s earth and keep it out of the landfill.”

“We’re just glad to help out,” he said. “It still has a purpose so we keep doing it.”

The church also received a few things that technically can’t be “e-cycled,” such as old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. However, Wutka said the landfill will accept the items.

Several youths and other church members helped with the morning collection.

“I like smashing the disks,” said one volunteer, Samantha Negaard. Hard drive disks on personal computers are either destroyed so the data cannot be retrieved on they are returned to the computer’s owner.

E-waste interesting facts

The Barton County Landfill accepts E-waste free of charge from households, schools and businesses in Barton County. Out-of-county customers must pay a fee of 10 cents per pound. 

The landfill website provides more information and the following E-waste facts:

• Americans own nearly three billion electronic products.

• Studies estimate that as much as 75% of old, used equipment is in storage, where it takes up space and becomes more obsolete and less valuable.

• Many people discard computers every 3 years.

• The average cell phone in the U.S. is replaced after just 18 months of use.

• Computer or television displays (CRTs) contain an average of 6 pounds of lead each.

• Other hazardous materials used in computers and other electronic devices include cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PVC plastic and brominated flame retardant.