Jefferson County plans first e-waste collection event

PORT TOWNSEND — Bring them your tired, your broken, your unwanted appliances yearning to be recycled.

But not the refrigerator.

On the Saturday of Earth Day weekend, April 19, empty trucks will arrive at the Port Townsend Boat Haven for the first E-Waste Round-Up in Jefferson County.

And if the response is anything like it was to the roundup held in Port Angeles, the trucks will not leave empty.

“It was huge,” Pete Keller said. “We weren’t prepared. We had four trailer loads of materials, and weren’t out of there until 10 p.m.”

Keller works for Total Reclaim, a Seattle environmental services company that is teaming with Beyond Waste, a Local 20/20 action group, to hold an e-waste roundup in Port Townsend during Earth Day weekend.

The goal: to get old computers, broken televisions and outdated telephones out of the closet and into the right hands.

“We knock them down, tear the plastics out and separate the components down to the glass,” Keller said.

Throughout the year, local residents can take unwanted electronics to Jefferson County’s transfer station, which charges a comparable fee to recycle them.

Organizers of the roundup hope to nudge people into parting with their old computers and televisions.

It’s a matter of convenience and also a good way to celebrate Earth Day, said Val Johnstone, a member of Beyond Waste and a Port Townsend Earth Day organizer.

“It’s garbage in, product out,” Johnstone said.

As a Total Reclaim representative, Keller oversees five or six e-waste roundups a weekend.

He has 70 of them scheduled between now and the end of summer.

For the Port Townsend event, he’s bringing in two 48-foot tractor trailers and a crew of six, who can offload two or three cars at a time — unload, pack and load items from 1,000 cars a day.

“We can really move through them fast,” he said.

Each roundup pulls in 20 to 30 wood-console televisions, Keller said, part of the total 1,200 to 1,500 televisions Total Reclaim receives each day.

Of the monitors, 80 percent are in working condition, he says.

“Everyone is going to flat screens,” he said. “Nobody wants them.”

Business are also welcome to bring their outdated electronics, Keller said, although the company is unable to handle large items such as copy machines.

But home-sized copy and fax machines are OK, Keller said.

“They will be recycled, as opposed to a lot of stuff ending up in landfills.”

Said Al Cairns, solid waste coordinator of the Jefferson County Public Works department, “Somebody pays for waste.

“These recycling events help by allowing the county to put the money into something else.”

Residents are also encouraged to go through basements, garages and storage sheds and gather up old cans of paint and household chemicals to take to the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility.

It’s also located in the Port Townsend Boat Haven, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 19.

And who takes the old refrigerator?

“Ed Neet out at Peninsula Recycling on Discovery Road does that,” Cairns said.

THE FIRST E-WASTE Roundup in Jefferson County will be Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Port Townsend Boat Haven.

Fees will be  charged per item: $30 for large items such as console televisions, $10 for microwaves, portable TVs and computer monitors, $3 for telephones, no charge for computer keyboards or mice. No credit cards or checks will be accepted.

Only electronic appliances will be accepted. Washers, dryers or refrigerators will be turned away.

The E-Waste Roundup is sponsored by Beyond Waste, an action group of Local 20/20.

For more information, go to or phone Val Johnstone, 360-385-2830.

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