The Association of Village Council Presidents' Environmental Department has been trying to get ahead of the curve on recycling electronic waste - or e-waste - from Bethel for the past several years. That’s according to Ben Balivet, AVCP’s Environmental Manager.
This Friday and Saturday they plan to do just that. On June 16 and 17, AVCP will be holding an electronic waste drive from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, and from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
What exactly is considered e-waste, one might ask?
“They are items such as computers, TVs, electronics like phones, tape recorders, DVD players, DVDs, blu-ray players, photo copy machines, coffee makers, even some lamps, a microwave oven, some people would even recycle their headphones, or their microphones, or battery backups," said Balivet.
The list goes on. And Balivet said that if you’re thinking of bringing computer monitors, that’s okay too. Just make sure that their screens aren’t too busted.
“Make sure you realize there is mercury in there, and don’t crack ‘em. And if they are cracked, please bring them, but be very careful to package them in a way they won’t hurt us,” said Balivet.
AVCP is also taking lead-acid automotive batteries as part of its ongoing recycling efforts. AVCP was able to get this done by donating the cost of two full containers, while Alaska Marine Lines is discounting hauling rates.
AVCP has also been subsidizing costs on recycling their own electronic waste through an Indian General Assistance Environmental Program grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Balivet said that this was AVCP’s way to start getting the rest of Bethel back on board with recycling.
Balivet said that other organizations involved include Bethel Native Corporation, ONC, Lower Kuskokwim School District, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. The motivation is to keep e-waste out of the landfill.
“The reason we want to get electronic waste out and recycled is because they have a lot of heavy metals,” said Balivet. “There is beryllium, there’s mercury, there’s lead. We really want these items out of the landfill, or not even going into the landfill, because it could leach into the water, and we all use our water here, so… “
In summary, on Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m., Bethel residents can bring their e-waste to AVCP container vans near Cezary’s Auto Body Shop on Front Street.