Tons of e-waste collected by county


Miriah Kardelis

Volunteers Rusti and Tobo Leivistad (from left) help Kathy Conlin with Sanders County and Matt Elsaesser of 406 Recycling move large TVs at the annual Sanders County e-waste event on Saturday.

The county's annual E-waste event last Saturday saw old computers, televisions and other dated electronics come in to be recycled at the Thompson Falls transfer site. Every year, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sponsors and provides licensing to help make the event a success. By 11 a.m. around 70 people had already stopped by to drop off electronics.

The E-waste event usually brings in five tons of electronics that need to be recycled. "We're definitely on target for that or more this year," said Kathy Conlin with Sanders County. Conlin organizes the event that brings in 406 Recycling out of Helena to haul the electronics away.

Matt Elsaesser with 406 Recycling says the company processes all the used electronics in an environmentally beneficial way and makes data security a top priority. "After we tear it all apart, all the lead, batteries and mercury from the monitors goes somewhere to be responsibly recycled," he said. For those electronics that are still in good, working condition, Elsaesser says can be donated to local nonprofits. "We've probably got around 4,000 pounds of electronics in the truck right now," he mentioned.

Plains and Noxon schools made great efforts by bringing in over 500 pounds of equipment. "Ray Buchanan gave a huge solo effort to make four trips with Thompson Falls Schools' equipment totaling approximately 3,000 pounds," Conlin said. "They will get a certificate of award from Sanders County and the DEQ."

The rental and semi-truck used to haul away the electronics were completely full by 2 p.m. "We could hardly shut the doors," Conlin said. "Matt had to turn away a TV that came in late at 3:15 because there was absolutely nowhere to put it."

Elsaesser said some of the most unique findings from the day were a Radio Shack TRS 80 vintage computer and a classic boombox. "I remember these from growing up in the 80s and 90s," he said.


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