Looking for an environmentally friendly way to recycle electronics? There's an option Saturday

The City of Indianapolis in partnership with a local non-profit is hosting the second electronic recycling event of the year Saturday, the day after Earth Day.

The city’s Office of Sustainability teamed up with RecycleForce for the 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. drive-thru style event at Krannert Park, which only is for electronics. The best rule of thumb is to bring anything with a cord, said Department of Public Works spokeswoman Imani Keith.

“The common items we see come through are a lot of cellphones, computers, tablets and microwaves,” Keith said. “Really, even chargers — things that people seem to have lying around the house that they are not using anymore.”

Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability partnered with local non-profit RecycleForce in January for an electronics recycling event. The two are partnering again April 23 for and Earth Day event to accept all recyclable electronics from Marion County residents
Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability partnered with local non-profit RecycleForce in January for an electronics recycling event. The two are partnering again April 23 for and Earth Day event to accept all recyclable electronics from Marion County residents

It’s illegal in Indiana to throw electronics out with standard household garbage, so Keith said this is a great opportunity for Marion County residents to properly recycle electronics.

“I think it’s not something commonly known that it is against the law to throw away electronics in the trash,” she said. “The metal in the electronics seeps into the soil and creates all kinds of problems for the environment.”

Some electronics contain heavy metals (mercury, lead and hexavalent chromium), which are hazardous to people, so they need to be properly disposed.

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That’s where RecycleForce steps in.

The non-profit not only removes these potentially hazardous materials from the stream of waste in the area, but provides citizens returning from jail or prison with employment and workforce development training.

“The main reason we partner with RecycleForce is because it’s a local non-profit and it reduces crime through its reentry employment for citizens returning from incarceration while also improving the environment,” Keith said.

Since beginning operations in 2006, RecycleForce has diverted and recycled more than 70 million pounds of electronic waste while providing jobs and services to thousands of returning citizens, said Crista Carlino, RecycleForce director of development and an Indianapolis city-county councilor.

Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability partnered with local non-profit RecycleForce in January for an electronics recycling event. The two are partnering again April 23 for and Earth Day event to accept all recyclable electronics from Marion County residents
Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability partnered with local non-profit RecycleForce in January for an electronics recycling event. The two are partnering again April 23 for and Earth Day event to accept all recyclable electronics from Marion County residents

“We break (electronics) down to brass tacks and then sort materials out with like items and ship it off to a smelter to be melted,” Carlino said. “Gold and precious metals are sold and we turn around and take those funds and put it right back into the program employing folks.”

This is the second time this year the organization partnered with the city for an E-cycle event. The previous event in January saw nearly 600 residents bringing about 60,000 pounds of recyclable material, Keith said.

“We’re expecting a bit more than we had in January,” Keith said. “We’re hoping the weather will be nicer.”

A full list of acceptable materials can be found on the city’s website at indy.gov/activity/electronics-recycling-sites, but make sure no items contain any refrigerants or hazardous materials. Those items can be dropped off at ToxDrop sites around Marion County every Saturday.

Marion residents who want to attend the E-cycle event should line up at Krannert Park and remain in their vehicles, Keith said. Staff will come to collect the electronics in the from vehicles.

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Mayor Joe Hogsett lends a hand in January during the year's first E-Cycling event. SustainIndy and RecycleForce are again partnering for an Earth Day event April 23.
Mayor Joe Hogsett lends a hand in January during the year's first E-Cycling event. SustainIndy and RecycleForce are again partnering for an Earth Day event April 23.

“It’s pretty seamless," Keith said, "and very quick and easy.”

Anyone unable to attend the event Saturday can take electronics to the RecycleForce at 1255 Roosevelt Ave. The group will even take large appliances with refrigerants, but Keith said a $20 donation helps the non-profit recycle that hazardous material.

RecycleForce is expanding to a new location, Carlino said, and will then be able to employ more returning citizens as well as expand the amount of recyclable items they’re able to process.

The city and RecycleForce are hoping to put together two more E-cycle events this year, but Keith said the dates are not yet set.

Here’s what is accepted at the event:

  • Camcorders/cameras

  • Circuit boards

  • Computers (desktops & laptops)

  • Digital photo frames

  • Digital media players

  • DVD players

  • DVR/TiVo devices (including cable boxes and satellite boxes)

  • E-readers

  • External disk drives

  • External tape drive

  • Fax machines

  • Gaming systems & accessories

  • GPS navigation systems

  • Hard drives

  • iPods/MP3 players

  • Joysticks

  • Keyboards

  • Laptops

  • Microphones

  • Modems

  • Monitors

  • Mouse

  • PC cards

  • PC speakers

  • Printers

  • Scanners

  • Televisions (including flat screen) 27 inches or less

  • Uninterrupted power supply batteries

  • USB drives

  • VHS players

Karl Schneider is an IndyStar environment reporter. You can reach him at karl.schneider@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter @karlstartswithk

IndyStar's environmental reporting project is made possible through the generous support of the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: E-cycle: Indianapolis teams up with non-profit to recycle electronics