UW-Madison: 350 tons of e-waste recycled by UW-Madison

CONTACT: Matthew Thies, 608-497-4436, [email protected]

MADISON – More than 350 tons of computers, monitors, and peripheral equipment have been recycled by UW-Madison between July 2010 and June 2011, according to recent tallies.

Sources of the material include university departments, state agencies, Wisconsin municipalities and other campuses. That means more than 700,000 pounds of government-owned material containing plastic, lead, mercury, aluminum, silicon, cadmium, chromium and radioactive isotopes have been carefully reclaimed or recycled, keeping it out of landfills and water supplies.

To manage the service, UW-Madison’s Materials Distribution Services, the property recycling arm of campus Purchasing, and the campus Division of Information Technology (DoIT) partnered with Universal Recycling Technologies (URT) of Janesville.

“This is very green, and URT has an e-Stewards Certification,” says Mike Hardiman, director of campus purchasing, referring to the global recycling standard. “And it’s being done under safe working conditions.”

According to Edward Hoover, manager of the DoIT Tech Store, “This is handled in a very environmentally and humanly responsible manner. We make sure we are not polluting resources here or in Third World countries.”

URT meets international requirements for responsible handling of hazardous wastes by reviewing the performance of its downstream vendors, including complying with health and safety laws and prohibiting use of prison labor and unsafe disposal of hazardous electronic waste.

For departmental computers and equipment, recycling and re-purposing are handled by MDS and campus SWAP (Surplus with a Purpose). For information on proper disposal of UW-owned equipment, see http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/SWAP.

Last year, DoIT also began a year-round recycling program for personally owned computers. In the 18 months since the start of its recycling program in April 2010, an additional seven tons of personal computers, monitors, and peripheral equipment were collected for recycling. For more information on DoIT’s computer recycling service, visit: http://go.wisc.edu/98fqu0.

UW-Madison faculty, staff and students can bring their computer components – computers, monitors, CD drives and hard drives – to DoIT’s walk-in Help Desk in the Computer Science building at 1210 West Dayton St., any time from 7:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Before dropping off an old computer for recycling, they should be sure to delete sensitive information from the hard drive, back up necessary files, and remove all transportable media.

Parking near DoIT is limited to four 20-minute spaces on North Charter Street, just across the train tracks from DoIT.