ROLLA—Meramec Regional Planning Commission, with funding from the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD), gathered 19.59 tons of residential scrap electronics and appliances and 3.99 tons of tires at the 13th annual special collection held at Brewer Science in Rolla. Approximately 213 vehicles from within the Ozark Rivers seven-county region – Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington – dropped off items at the collection on June 9.
Brady Wilson, chairman of the ORSWMD, says these special collections are valued not only as a convenience to local residents, but also as a way to reduce the environmental impact by keeping potentially toxic electronic waste out of landfills.
“I believe the special collections are important to the residents of the communities within our region because it offers them an affordable option for properly disposing of, and recycling the items we tend to refer to as “orphan wastes” or those items that are difficult to find a home for,” Wilson said. “Whole tires and appliances are banned from landfills. In addition, these collection events help to gather these items which otherwise can often end up in county ditches and streams thereby desecrating the local landscape and the environment.”
The most frequently recycled items were televisions. Other items included water heaters, AC units, washers, dryers and various cord or battery operated smaller electronic devices.
“Brewer Science has done an outstanding job of partnering on recycling events,” Hollowell said. “We greatly appreciate all of the employee volunteers that come out in all weather – rain, cold, extreme heat – to provide this invaluable service to the community.”
There was an increase in the number of tires brought to the collection this year.
“Many individuals who brought tires to the collection were grateful for the opportunity to have their tires recycled rather than having tires sent to our local landfills and inquired about where tires go,” said Hollowell. “MRPC contracts with Champlin Tire Recycling, Inc., and they transport and process tires through their retreading and reclamation center in Concordia, KS. Champlin processes over 4 million tires annually in a six-state region. The reclamation process transforms tires into park benches and picnic tables that are made from recycled tires and plastics such as milk jugs and pop bottles.”
Appliances and e-waste are handled by Midwest Recycling Center, a certified collection contractor, who distributes the collected items to either be refurbished or broken down to recycle rare earth element components. The last resort is responsible destruction and that assures contaminants in electronics, such as mercury, lead and arsenic, never pollute the air or water.
The collection held last year, hosted by Brewer Science served approximately 160 cars and collected 14.47 tons of electronics, appliances and tires. The increase in the collection was attributed to the increase in promotion and strong support of the city of Rolla, including the Centre of Rolla which posted a flier on its front desk. Several attendees stated the saw the event advertised at the Centre.
The next Ozark Rivers collections are Sept. 8 at the St. Robert Community Center, 114 J.H. Williamson Drive, St. Robert and Oct. 6 at the Vichy Community Park at the junction of Highway 68 and Highway 63.
The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, promotes awareness and education to increase waste reduction and recycling efforts in member counties and cities. MRPC provides administration of the district and assists with a variety of implementation projects.
For more information about ORSWMD or waste reduction and recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC environmental programs manager, or Jill Hollowell at 573-265-2993. Follow Ozark Rivers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ORSWMD or on our website at ozarkrivers.org for future collection dates and waste management grants.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 23, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.