The New E-waste Landscape
Hot tickets or Black Friday sale items are usually the reasons behind lengthy customer queues. But drivers whose cars snaked slowly through the Pioneer High School parking lot back in April were seeking something else: free disposal of their unwanted or obsolete electronics.
As fast-moving workers pulled five behemoth CRT televisions from a single SUV, the driver was saving about $100 compared to the fee he would have paid at Recycle Ann Arbor's Drop-Off Station on Ellsworth. But he was already an anachronism in Ann Arbor's changing e-waste landscape.
"We've been seeing a downward shift in the volume of electronics over the last two years," says Barbara Hagan of the U-M Office of Campus Sustainability, which hosts the annual free "E-Waste Recycling Event" with support from Apple and in partnership with Ann Arbor Public Schools. Hagan says that 2,480 vehicles dropped off 206 tons of electronics this year, down from 3,268 vehicles and 220 tons in 2012. "It's because people have cleaned out their basements of the TVs with big heavy monitors, and all electronics are getting smaller," Hagan says. "We also recognize that people are using other options."