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Calling all e-junk

Courtesy of Cook Inletkeeper

Cook Inletkeeper is holding its annual electronics recycling event at the landfill in Soldotna this Saturday. The event was postponed due to the pandemic — it usually takes place in May — but will otherwise function much like it does every year.

Volunteers will be wearing masks and encouraging social distancing when possible.

“We can take everything from computer monitors to cellphones to any electronics at all, and it’s such a great way to have them not just end up in our landfills, but then to be recycled into new electronics. It’s a better flow of materials,” said Kaitlin Vadla, regional director of Cook Inletkeeper. “It’s certainly cheaper overall to basically mine electronics from old disposed electronics than to mine it out of the ground as a virgin mineral. 

They’ll accept any of your old electronics — that’s anything with a cord or anything that you charge. Inletkeeper suggests a $15 donation for items with screens, like TVs and monitors, since disposing them is relatively expensive. Inletkeeper has a grant that it uses to foot some of the other costs.

Electronic recycling, or “e-cycling,” prevents the harmful buildup of electronics in landfills. When disposed of improperly, electronics can leak chemicals and toxic minerals into the ground and watershed.

Vadla said Inletkeeper originally started with this event in response to the Pebble Mine project.

“If we’re saying no to this mine, what are we saying yes to? And I think that there are better ways to get the minerals that can purportedly be gotten out of Pebble,” Vadla said. “I think if we recycled them, we’d have a lot more minerals than could be had out of this one mine.

Organizations, too, can schedule appointments to bring in their old electronics. The local food bank is bringing a large load of disposables, for example.

As for Vadla, she’ll be doing some e-cycling of her own: “An old iPhone and an old toaster oven is what I’ve got,” she said.

The event is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna. It is co-sponsored by ReGroup, Kachemak Advocates of Recycling, Spenard Builders Supply, Central Recycling Services, TOTE Maritime, Weaver Bros and the borough. There’s another drop-off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Spenard Builders Supply in Homer.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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