ROLLA—An Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) special waste collections drive collected 27.79 tons of residential recyclable electronics, appliances and tires from 253 participant vehicles on May 30 at the Brewer Science, Inc. parking lot in Rolla.

Brady Wilson, director of environmental services department for the city of Rolla, said citizens are searching for responsible waste disposal opportunities.

“The great overall turnout at these events shows that the public wants to do the right thing as long as these opportunities are available,” Wilson said.

Jill Hollowell, collection administrator and environmental specialist at Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) recorded an 83-car participant increase since the last collection in 2014. Electronics, appliances and other corded items accounted for 19.66 tons and the remainder was tires.

“Recycling is an intrinsic value and we need to take responsibility for disposing of these valuable resources,” Hollowell said.

Ozark River Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) subsidized the collection fees by paying a portion of the recycling fee. Hollowell said one example was the savings for consumers for recycling appliances with Freon. Removing Freon before disposal could cost the consumer $60 per item.

Computer monitors and tire fees were $5 each, and TVs were $10 each. The event collected 65 CRT monitors, 111 CRT TVs and 473 tires during the event. An overall 6.2 ton increase was recorded over the September 2014 collection.

“The special collection events conducted by the solid waste district, like the one held in Rolla in May, provided a great outlet for residents to properly recycle/dispose of items that can otherwise be troublesome to get rid of,” Wilson said. “Specifically, tires present a challenge and they can cause a public health risk when improperly stored or left in the environment.”

Midwest Recycling Center (MRC), a recycling company with a zero landfill policy, was contracted to dispose of the appliances and electronics. Ryan Hall, MRC logistics manager, answered consumer questions at the event, such as where the electronics are taken.

“We don’t take anything to a landfill, nor do we send electronics to under-developed countries,” Hall said.

Many participants asked Hall, MRC logistics supervisor, about the security of the computer’s hard drives.

“All the collected hard drives are kept in a locked room, surrounded by barbed wire, and under constant surveillance,” Hall said.

Hall said hard drives are destroyed in one of four ways: the Department of Defense 7-pass wipe and a third party audits the drives to make sure all information is removed; degausing the hard drives, which shoots a huge magnetic field through the drive to make it unreadable; an industrial hole punch spear’s through the middle of the drive, rendering it inoperable; and an industrial shredding machine that has gears that eat the hard drives.

“Everything we collect either gets broken down and recycled or repurposed,” Hall said.

ORSWMD, MRPC, and city of Rolla sponsored the special collections event, with funding through Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

The next collections will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Maries County Road District #1 Shed, 11055 Highway 133, Meta and Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Robert Community Center, 114 J.H. Williamson Dr., St. Robert.

ORSWMD 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 MDNR, involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities.

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 21, 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.

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