In Spring 2019, the College of Natural Sciences worked to properly dispose of 1,417 electronic devices – everything from typewriters to helium-neon lasers.
The college coordinated and funded the electronic waste amnesty initiative to ensure proper disposal of the waste and free up space in facilities around the college. Staff, students, and faculty from all 8 departments, as well as the Education and Outreach Center and Little Shop of Physics, participated.
“Each year, 50 million computers, monitors, 130 million cell phones, TVs and other electronics designated as ‘e-waste’ are landfilled in the United States,” according to CSU Surplus. “These items contain significant quantities of hazardous materials, such as lead and mercury.”
Melissa Reynolds, associate dean for research in the College of Natural Sciences, attributes the initiative’s success to how easy it was to participate. “It provided an opportunity to responsibly get rid of all of that unused electronic equipment with minimal effort – just throwing it out in the hallway, where CSU Surplus employees collected the items.”
Not only did this ensure the safe and responsible disposal of these electronics, but it also freed up precious space. Across the college, 8 full offices of space were emptied and can now be used for research. Additionally, it helped to create safer spaces – part of recent safety initiatives related to trash and floor services in active research labs.
“The goal was to provide support to all of our departments to clean-out items that are no longer used to make room for new items or recover space,” said Reynolds. “As we have grown, space is a precious resource.”