Hoonah is at the “end of the line” for a lot of consumer goods. In 2021 closed the loop of consumer electronics by shipping them out to be responsibly recycled. The “electronic waste” backhaul yielded great results – thanks for being responsible, Hoonah!
How many electronic devices have you owned in the last 2 years? Now days technology evolves faster than ever which gives us cheap access to the latest and greatest in-home entertainment systems, and household devices to make our lives cleaner, and easier. In 2020, with everyone on COVID lock down, many in the community had the same idea I did and replaced many electronic items around the house with new bigger flatter 4k versions, but with the new items entering the home it was time to get rid of all the old heavy TVs, and microwaves etcetera. It is very important that these items are not burned because they can heavily pollute our environment and I am proud to say the community was extremely responsible with disposing of their old electronic devices in the electronics collection container located at the Hoonah Landfill. We began putting the electronics into shipping containers and in a short period time the 24-foot container was full to the ceiling and in desperate need of shipping out. In the shipping container we fit 6 shipping boxes full of electronic waste, 4 large printers, more than 20 tube TVs, and many pound of miscellaneous house hold electronics.
We are always learning and adjusted our plan based on the results of the 2019 electronic waste backhaul.
The 2021 electronic waste collection event was a huge success due to the partnerships with Hoonah Indian Association, City of Hoonah, and Alaska Marine Lines (AML). This year we picked up electronic waste directly from homes while also hauling TVs, microwaves, speakers, computers, and lots more from the container at the landfill and loaded it into an AML container that we then shipped to SBK Recycling in Washington. We collected e-waste for a month and a half filling the AML container with e-waste and shipped to SBK Recycling where it will be broken down to have the heavy metals removed, then responsibly recycled.
4 Reasons Why Electronics Recycling Important
#1 Impact on the Soil
E-waste can take thousands of years to decompose. During that time, it has a damaging and long-lasting effect on the environment. As electronics break down, they release toxic chemicals into the soil, contaminating plants and trees. Some of these chemicals include lead from circuit boards and lithium from batteries. They also have the potential to make their way into human and animal food supplies.
#2 Groundwater Damage
Groundwater makes its way to streams, ponds, and lakes, which are sources of water for animals, plants, and humans. Contaminated water poses the risk of compromising the food chain and can contribute to numerous health risks including reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, and immune system damage.
#3 Air Pollution
Electronics are composed of plastics, glass, and metals, which produce dangerous emissions when burnt. Such emissions don’t just pose direct damage to animals and humans, they also result in an increased rate of ozone depletion and greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming and climate change.
#4 Marine Pollution
Millions of tons of trash, including e-waste, goes into the ocean every year. Since electronics are non-biodegradable, marine dumping is not better than any other of the options. The result of marine dumping can be deadly to organisms, disturb biodiversity, and harm ecosystems. In some situations, the presence of e-waste and associated toxins can damage ecosystems to the point where recovery is questionable, if not impossible.