Sustainability office holds e-waste recycling event


Rob Gasser

Electronic waste recycling at BGSU

Heidi Gasser, Reporter

BGSU’s Office of Campus Sustainability will be hosting the E-Waste Drive on April 1 allowing Bowling Green community members to recycle electronic materials. 

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Slater Ice Arena.

According to Dr. Nick Hennesy, director of campus sustainability, e-waste can be classified as “anything with a plug or anything that is or was battery operated.” This can include all sorts of electronic devices, from old cell phones to broken kitchen appliances. 

Hennesy said that 50 million tons of e-waste ends up in U.S. landfills each year, and that number may continue to rise. The sustainability community has been aware of a rising phenomenon called “planned obsolescence” that contributes to filling landfills. 

“One of the things about society and electronics and technology, if you will, is that it’s constantly being updated. And there’s something called planned obsolescence that’s a term that gets often used in the environmental area which means a lot of times companies outright plan for something to not be any good after a period of time and you’re gonna have to get a new one,” Hennessy said. 

Campus sustainability initiatives like the E-Waste Drive are trying to prevent electronics from ever reaching the landfill, where Hennessy said heavy metals and other toxic materials can potentially seep into surrounding areas and harm anyone who comes into close contact. 

“It just becomes kind of mind-boggling that that much waste is created that has the potential to be sent to a landfill and causing so significant environmental damage,” Hennessy said. 

BGSU was able to partner with AIM Ecycling to ethically take care of customers’ discarded products, according to Hennesy.

“It’s something we want to find a way to responsibly deal with,” Hennesy said. “It’s very important to us that they have the R2 certification. That’s a type of sustainability certification that they have to earn, and they get audited regularly, to show and demonstrate that they are disposing of the electronics in the way that they say that they are.” 

Hennesy advises that participants verify which of their items are acceptable on the BGSU electronic recycling webpage, and check out year-round recycling stations placed around campus.