Recycling event collects TVs, phones and other electronic relics

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 5, 2012 

Beaufort County residents cleared out rec rooms, garages and home offices Saturday, dropping off hundreds of TVs, computers and other "e-waste" during recycling events in greater Bluffton and Beaufort.

Ginny Hackbert, who promised to clean out her parents attic two years ago, was among them. She brought three printers, a typewriter, a computer and what just might have been the world's first cordless phone to the county public works site on Benton Road, near old town Bluffton.

"These things break down so fast," the Bluffton resident said. "And then they want you to buy the new ones."

"I appreciate this," she said to an attendant as she drove off. "It's one of those things where you look at it and look at it and wonder what to do with it."

A law passed by the S.C. legislature in 2010 made it illegal for landfills to accept electronics after July 1, 2011. In response, the county has begun hosting free e-waste recycling events. Two more are planned for later this year, said John Miller, the county's solid waste and recycling operations superintendent.

By 1 p.m., about 150 cars had passed through the recycling center in greater Bluffton, and workers expected they might hit 250 for the day. In February, almost 2,200 vehicles passed through, causing long backups.

This time around, extra entry lanes were added to keep traffic moving. The changes seemed to work since most cars were in and out within a minute or two.

Other events were held on Shanklin Road in Beaufort and at the Bluffton Goodwill Store off U.S. 278 in Okatie.

Workers from Morrisville, N.C.-based Creative Recycling gathered up like electronics onto pallets and large boxes, bailed them together with shrink wrap, and loaded them onto semi trailers bound for a recycling plant in Columbia.

"It's mostly CPUs. A lot of them, and old TVs." said TeShawn Carr of Creative Recycling. "Anything with a plug, we'll take it."

A crew from West Columbia-based Shred With Us was on site to take any unwanted documents, which will likely be turned into paper towels and toilet paper. Shredders Chris Harville and Reggie Whitmore killed time by making jokes, usually at each other's expense.

"You've got to make it fun," Harville said. "Otherwise, you're just waiting around for people to come."

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.

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