Recycled electronics fill two trailers at Poarch

The ATR-Birmingham crew, from left, front, Ilan McCabe, Morgan Hightower, David Gray; middle, Kendrall Dell; Barry Jones, Xavier Woodard; back, Wesley Caldwell, Stephen Bass, Frank Reeves, and James Moore II.

A continuous stream of trucks, cars and SUVs pulled into the Poarch Creek Indians fire station Saturday, April 22, and left behind heaps of scrapped television sets, vacuum cleaners, half-empty cans of paint, fluorescent bulbs and similar items. And nobody complained.

In fact, organizers of the twice-yearly electronics recycling and household hazardous waste collection event were tickled over the amount of debris left behind.

“We’ve had a good turnout,” PCI Environmental Specialist Barney White said around 10:30 a.m. “There haven’t been as many cars as usual, but we’ve collected more stuff. We’ve gotten a lot of things the landfill won’t take. There’s not really any other outlet for this stuff.”

As vehicles pulled through a truck bay left empty for the morning, Poarch Fire Department personnel unloaded hazardous materials, like paint, automotive batteries, household chemicals and lengthy light bulbs. Those with recyclable electronics items then moved to the next station, where those items were unloaded by a 10-person crew from Advanced Technology Recycling’s Birmingham location.

As 11 a.m. approached, one semi-trailer was almost filled, and several pallets, each shrouded in shrink-wrap for stability, awaited loading. Another trailer was being backed into the area for the overflow.

“We’ve about filled one, and it’s going to be pretty close on the second one,” said White.

The company, in conjunction with the observance of Earth Day 2017, was attempting to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by accepting more than one million pounds of electronics and electronic-related items at eight locations across the country. Similar collection events were being conducted at points in Texas, Michigan, Utah, New York and Illinois.

“It’s been a busy morning,” said David Gray, ATR’s business development manager. “Most people will not take TVs, but the Tribe is paying for us to accept them. We do these e-waste drives, and we normally charge for television sets or anything with LCD.”

Gray said the company was trying to set a world record in three different aspects of recycled electronics: the most poundage collected in 24 hours; the most televisions collected in 24 hours, and the most weight collected at a single site.

“Basically, we’re trying to keep one million pounds of consumer electronics out of the country’s landfills,” he said.

The Poarch environmental specialist agreed that the biannual collections, one held in the spring of each year and one in the fall, relieved stress on the landfills, but pointed out that there was another plus to the event.

“It’s important to keep as much stuff out of our landfills as we can, but we also want to keep as much as we can out of our creeks,” said White.

Atmore resident Jack Wright displays the certificate of participation he received.
Advanced Technology Recycling employees stack computers and other items onto pallets.