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SWACO Launches Program To Deal With E-Waste

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio has launched a program to deal with the ever-growing amount of electronic waste. Mike Foley reports.

SWACO has created an E-Waste Diversion Program because the tossing out of electronic devices like cell phones and computers represents the largest growing waste sector in the country.  As new technology enters the market, more electronics are discarded – in part because there’s limited access to recycling them. Kyle O’Keefe - SWACO’s Director of Innovation and Programs – expects this new program to help in Franklin County.  

“This program specifically is targeted towards local government entities such as cities, villages, townships, county government agencies and school districts - and basically allows them to opt into a contract agreement that SWACO has established with set service providers. And those services are very affordable and in some cases even offer some of these revenue-sharing options for certain materials that are generated. So one, we’re trying to provide them with a cost-affordable recycling option. Really, e-waste contains a lot of valuable recyclable metals but e-waste can also have hazardous waste. So by working and disposing these materials properly, it’s also protecting our environment but it’s also providing jobs in our community as well. And hopefully it’s providing them with some cost savings or some revenue-generating options through these contracts that we’ve established.”

SWACO has contracted with Longwood, Florida-based Southeastern Data, which also has a Columbus office, for collection and processing. SWACO also partnered with the company and Goodwill Columbus for more community e-waste collection events, which as O’Keefe explains represents another aspect of the program.

“The mobile collection event portion of these services is really targeted toward the residents. Whoever wants to host an event, they can work with one of these providers to set up a day and a location for residents to bring that electronic waste. And another component allows an agency to have a drop off site at their actual administrative building for the public to bring their electronic waste. There are also a number of other e-waste collection providers that are not related to this program and we have a list of those services on our website as well.”

O’Keefe says SWACO hopes to collect more data to determine the actual environmental impact of the program. But he notes e-waste represents a large opportunity to increase recycling in the region.   

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience. Foley hosts The Morning Mix, a weekday music show featuring emerging and established musicians, our Columbus-area and Ohio-based talent, and additional artists that inspire him.
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