Marines

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Electronic equipment dropped off at this year’s first Electronics Recycling Event aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, sits in stacks waiting to be loaded and shipped off where they will be recycled, Jan. 27. The event gives base personnel a chance to properly dispose of electronics, many of which have chemicals harmful to the environment as well as materials that can be recycled and reused in newer electronics.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Camp Lejeune’s electronics recycling event has great turnout

27 Jan 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Technology is always advancing by leaps and bounds. For the average person who wants to stay updated with the latest gadgets and electronic gear, updates and replacements are required constantly. However, all the outdated electronics can’t simply be thrown on the wayside or in someone’s dumpster.

The Environmental Management Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune held the second annual Electronics Recycling Event Jan. 27 at the Marine Corps Exchange.  The event offered base personnel a chance to properly dispose of their unwanted personal electronic items, be it a coffee pot or an outdated big-screen television.

“This is a one-day event but we are planning to have it again sometime this year,” said Dave Balog, the recycling coordinator with the Environmental Management Division, MCB Camp Lejeune. “People can dispose of their personal electrical equipment in a safe way.”

So far base personnel have turned in a variety of items including televisions, monitors, computers, laptops, printers and microwaves.

“Some people don’t know the dangerous chemicals that are stored in some of these electronics, and disposing of them by throwing them in the trash allows for the chemicals to seep back into the environment and damage it,” said Balog. “There are also precious metals and materials in many of these electronics which can be recycled and re-used.”

Even old, worn and outdated electronics can still contribute to today’s modern gadgets. They contain precious metals, plastic, aluminum, steel and glass which can be reused into making newer electronics, shoes  and bottles.

“In addition to reducing the use of our natural resources, we are reducing the disposal cost of permitting, constructing, operating and maintaining the base's solid-waste landfill,” added Balog.

During the last few hours left to turn in personal electronic equipment the amount of unwanted materials turned in was staggering.

“By the end of the day we received 10,000 pounds of unwanted gear,” said Balog.

The idea for the event came after employees screened solid waste and discovered that there was a constant improper disposal of electronics. Their first event last year had a decent turnout but with advertising of this year’s event more base personnel showed up, a sign that the community cares about the environment and is willing to take the time to properly dispose of electronics.

“This is great for three big reasons, it’s saving on a natural resource, its increasing the longevity of our landfills and its preventing potentially harmful chemicals from getting into the environment,” said Balog. “We plan on having another event later on this year and hope its as good if not better than this one.”