By LEE SHEARER
A long line of cars queued up at the University of Georgia Intramural Fields on Tuesday to shed electronic waste for recycling.
Items brought included computers and monitors, floppy discs by the hundreds, batteries by the thousands, vacuum cleaners, printers, boom boxes, Christmas lights, televisions, microwave ovens, cell phones, a well pump, broken coffee makers and cords of all descriptions. Others turned over their CD collections, including some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century — Ray Charles, The Doors and Van Morrison.
In short, a kind of electronic archaeology of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
“You name it, we get it,” said Ken Parris of Athens’ KP Surplus, an electronics recycling company helping with the effort.
Some also brought styrofoam, but had to keep it. Unlike last year, styrofoam wasn’t accepted at UGA’s second annual “Recycling Happy Hour,” one of a number of environmentally themed events the university is staging this week.
People can bring old electronic devices to the Athens-Clarke County Landfill or the government’s recycling facility anytime during working hours, said Athens-Clarke County recycling administrator Suki Janssen.
But twice a year, people can recycle stuff after normal business hours in these so-called happy hours, she said, once in the fall and once in the spring at UGA.
“Last year we had 175 vehicles from seven counties, plus three bicycles, which was cool,” said UGA sustainability coordinator Kevin Kirsche. Among other things, they brought 1,678 pounds of recyclable electronics, fluorescent light tubes, and 79 televisions.
This year looked like more, said Parris, who feared they would run out of cardboard bins to hold it all.
Abbie Thaxton of radio station WUGA had already counted nearly 100 cars by 6 p.m., halfway through, at least officially.
Some recyclers began showing up at 4 p.m., an hour before the official start, Kirsche said.
Not all will be torn apart for materials. Some computers will be turned over to Free I.T. Athens, a volunteer group that refurbishes computers and then makes them available at low cost to low-income people, Kirsche said.
UGA also staged a campus waste audit Tuesday, dumping out a somewhat smelly wad of garbage collected from about 400 outdoor waste receptacles on the UGA campus. On a lawn beside UGA’s busy Tate Student Center, volunteers and workers in UGA’s sustainability office sorted the mess into recyclable items and stuff that had to go to the landfill.
The purpose was partly educational, to show how much many throw away that could have been recycled. But it will also show just what people put in outdoor trash receptacles as the university plans an outdoor waste system that will make it easier for people to recycle, Kirsche said.
Working with other groups, the UGA sustainability office has scheduled events throughout the week to promote waste reduction and other sustainability measures.
BikeAthens, an alternative transportation advocacy group, will hold a bicycle safety training from 11 a.m. until noon today on the Myers Hall quad, for example.
On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Dean Rusk Center, panelists from several area businesses and industries will talk about how they’ve made their businesses more sustainable, often saving money in the process.
And at 2 p.m. Friday, volunteers will take to the water, heading out in canoes and kayaks for a Middle Oconee River clean-up from Big Dogs on the River at 2525 Atlanta Highway.
More information about these and other events can be viewed athttp://sustainability.uga.edu/earthweek. For more information on events and activities during the Athens-Clarke County Green Fest, seehttp://athensgreenfest.com/About_GreenFest.php.