SALEM—Meramec Regional Planning Commission, with funding from the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD), gathered 6.05 tons of residential scrap electronics, appliances and tires at the May 16 collection held in Salem. Approximately 91 vehicles from within the Ozark Rivers seven-county region – Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington – dropped off items at the collection. MRPC partnered with the city of Salem, who provided city staff who assisted with the collection. The city also provided the drop-off site at the Salem construction parking lot at the corner of third and grand.
“We want to say thanks to the City of Salem and its staff for making this event possible,” said Bonnie Prigge, executive director at MRPC. “Partnerships like this are so valuable and so important for the region.”
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.”
Tires were the most collected item with a total of 146 tires, amounting to 1.74 tons being diverted from landfills. The most frequently recycled electronic/appliance item was televisions with 49 being collected.
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 last collection hosted by Salem in 2017 collected 6.62 tons of electronics, appliances and tires.
The next Ozark Rivers collections are Oct. 10 at the St. Robert Community Center, 114 J.H. Williamson Drive, St. Robert and Oct. 3 in Maries County – location yet to be determined.. Participants are asked to stay in their vehicles and volunteers will unload their items. There will be fees for tires, TVs, computer monitors and appliances with freon. Tires must have the rims removed.
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. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 34 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.