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Friday, May 14, 2021

New e-waste bin to improve recycling

A new electronic-waste bin is now inside the Associated Students Bookstore thanks to an idea by sophomore Gwen Larned and the program Zero Waste Western.

The bin can be used for dropping off small electronics like broken calculators, cell phones, laptops, controllers and game consoles, Larned said.

With so many students living on campus who aren’t able to drive down and drop off their old electronics, the e-waste bin makes it more convenient for students, Larned said.

Larned is the Zero Waste coordinator at Western, and came up with the idea of bringing the e-waste bin to campus after this summer, Larned said.

“I just walked around and saw things that I thought Western could improve upon,” Larned said. “I just took the initiative to contact the recycling center and find a way that it could distributed.”

Larned was then able to get permission from the bookstore and a box from the recycling center, she said.

The AS Bookstore is a good location for the e-waste bin because the bookstore gets a lot of foot traffic from people who are passing through, said Hannah-Maria Roder, a Zero Waste assistant and designer of the e-waste bin.

“We are also working on expanding facilities for recycling, and that’s where electronics recycling comes from — is that we saw a need for that branch of recycling,” Larned said.

Larned hopes to see the bin used and emptied at least once this year, Larned said.

“I would personally like to see residence halls take on that option just because it makes it that much more convenient for students,” Larned said. “For now I think that we will wait and see how this one does.”

The AS Students Recycling Center is currently working on a more permanent bin that will be a nicely decorated barrel with a lid, Larned said.

Anything new that happens in the bookstore gets a lot of coverage and immediately gets recognized, which is a big plus, Roder said.

Peg Godwin, the general manager at the AS Bookstore, views the e-waste bin as an opportunity for students to easily recycle material, Godwin said.

It helps to support the campus effort toward sustainability, Godwin said.

Zero Waste Western is designed to help educate students on how to properly recycle and compost and also conducts data collection on Western’s waste, Roder said.

“Based on the data we collect we try to figure out new ways to reach the student body about becoming more aware of their waste habits and disposing of their waste properly,” Roder said.

Roder was exposed to the Office of Sustainability after Larned got a job there, Roder said.

“Through volunteering for certain events and helping her out at work a little bit, I grew accustomed to the happenings at the Office of Sustainability,” Roder said.

The Office of Sustainability is focused on helping Western achieve its goal of sustainability in multiple ways, according to the Office of Sustainability website.

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