Sunday, November 29, 2015         

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UH campuses taking in e-waste

Apple is sponsoring the collection of old computers and other devices for recycling

By Erika Engle


The old, elephantine eMac or hulking HP stashed in the back of your closet can now find a proper eternal resting place and free space for new shoes with a simple visit today to a school campus near you.

Six University of Hawaii campuses and Kealakehe High School on the Big Island have been collecting educational and governmental electronic waste, or e-waste, this week, and the sites are open to the public today.

Oahu residents are permitted to dispose of household electronics via regular refuse collection or at solid-waste transfer stations, but people are "encouraged" to consider recycling and disposal options such as today's recycling event. If you can't make it today, other options are listed on the city Department of Environmental Services' website at


Dump sites for computers, peripherals and other electronics:

» John A. Burns School of Medicine
» Leeward Community College
» Windward Community College
» Kauai Community College
» University of Hawaii, Maui
» University of Hawaii, Hilo
» Kealakehe High School, Kailua-Kona

Sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Source: UH Information Technology Services








Everyone who has no-longer-useful electronics is encouraged to participate, said Larry Wiss, communications officer for information technology services at the University of Hawaii. "It's very important that people take advantage of this program. It keeps all the contaminants from entering our waste stream." Some companies ship e-waste to Third World countries, but the equipment collected during this drive will be sent to "one of the few recycling companies licensed under our new recycling law. ... It's guaranteed environmentally safe," he said.

California-based computer maker Apple Inc. approached the university with this disposal program idea.

Wiss coordinates the locations and facilitates the program, but the rest "is all on Apple's dime," he said, from the hiring of day laborers to handle and load the equipment onto pallets, to shipping to the mainland and cost of disposal.

In 2006, 1.2 million pounds of e-waste was collected in Hawaii, and in 2008, 1.75 million pounds. As of Friday more than half a million pounds had been collected at the sites, and because of the high participation in the two earlier years, Wiss doesn't think quite as much will be collected this time.

He is hopeful Apple will continue to offer the service. "If Apple raises their hand again, then boom, we'll do it," said Wiss.

Demand for free recycling and disposal options is likely to remain strong, given the rapid advancement of technology, in which the newest-latest-coolest thing supplants the last newest-latest-coolest thing.

On Oahu, nonresidential e-waste was banned from disposal after July 2006, and a 2008 state law required electronics manufacturers to provide recycling programs to consumers for computers, computer monitors and televisions. The state law is administered by the state Department of Health's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch.

For those whose electronics are not quite ready for the collection bins this weekend, the city's website offers a wealth of information and referrals for year-round disposal. The site includes a list of retailers and manufacturers that accept electronics for recycling or disposal, and companies that can serve the disposal needs of businesses, such as Aiea-based Pacific Corporate Solutions.

"We provide secure destruction of their hard drives" and other sensitive electronic record-keeping equipment, said David Smith, Pacific Corporate Solutions CEO. "We protect their data, and that's a big key for a lot of clients that we work with — and they want proper recycling."

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