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Douglas County residents will have the opportunity to recycle virtually all electronics next month at an electronics cleanup drop-off event in the spring.

Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability is offering the service April 2 in partnership with Teknix Solutions, a Manhattan-based electronics recycling company. Volunteers will be on hand to retrieve items from vehicles during a drive-in event on KU West Campus.

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“It’s a great way to dispose of your electronics in an environmentally friendly way,” said Kim Criner Ritchie, acting director of sustainable development for Douglas County.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 25 states have enacted laws regulating the disposal of electronic waste. Kansas is not one of them.

Teknix Solutions reports that nearly 98% of the materials they receive can be kept out of landfills. Items are sorted and dismantled into basic components, which are recycled or reused in refurbished devices. Other coins are sold and sometimes further broken down to recover precious metals.

“These devices contain valuable materials,” Criner Ritchie said. “There may also be harmful materials. The more we can keep harmful things out of the environment, the better.

Recycling is free for most items. Cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions will be accepted for a fee based on size: 19 inches or smaller will cost $20; 20 inches and up are $40. CRT TV recycling fees must be paid in cash.

Criner Ritchie said there is no limit to the amount of gear that can be brought to the event. Household alkaline batteries will not be accepted at the event, but residents of Lawrence can make an appointment to drop them off at Household Hazardous Waste. Rechargeable batteries are acceptable.

Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability
Acceptable items include anything with a cord or battery, including but not limited to:
  • Computers, laptops, monitors, speakers, keyboards, mice, servers
  • Microwaves, televisions, game consoles
  • PCB-free fixtures and ballasts
  • Stereos, radios, telephones, audiovisual equipment
  • Laboratory equipment, cables, backup battery systems,
  • Other small appliances
  • CDs, VHS and tapes

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Items that are do not acceptable include:
  • Fire alarms, smoke detectors, thermometers
  • Bulbs, PCB ballasts
  • Alkaline batteries (Lawrence residents can take these items to Household Hazardous Waste)
  • Chemicals of all kinds
  • Tires, furniture
  • Large appliances or devices containing Freon

According to the company’s website, Teknix Solutions has certified equipment managers who “take every precaution to ensure that data has been disposed of before further processing.” Equipment is safely destroyed or cleaned in accordance with NIST SP 800-88 standards.

Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability

Criner Ritchie said the county does not accept electronics at curbside services because they need specialized recycling from an outside vendor. Collecting the items would require space and staff to ensure safe storage until they could be delivered to a service provider. She said periodic events with Teknix Solutions provide the community with a responsible alternative.

“They’re certified, so we know where their recycling ends up,” she said. “It is considered a safe and responsible avenue for recycling electronic devices. It’s the best formula we’ve found to help people and not burden our solid waste service.

The past years have seen over 1,700 vehicles pass and produced over 155,000 pounds of material. More information can be found on the Electronic Recycling website.

Volunteers are needed for two shifts, 7:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided for both shifts. Click here to find out more or to register. For questions, contact Jamie Hofling, Food Waste Reduction Specialist, at [email protected] or 785-330-3017.

The event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 at KU Lot 301, which is just northwest of the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street. The lot can be accessed by heading west on 21st Street from Iowa or north on Crestline Drive from Clinton Parkway. Vehicles arriving after 1:00 p.m. will not be able to access the event.

Masks are encouraged, but will not be required at the event. Participants are asked to stay inside the vehicles for safety reasons and to minimize contact with volunteers who will be unloading recyclables.

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Andrea Albright (she/her), journalist, can be contacted at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more about his work for The Times here. Check out his staff biography here.

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