INDIANAPOLIS — With Earth Day just around the corner, the Indianapolis Zoo is inviting area residents to do something kind for Mother Earth by participating in Power Recycling Weekend presented by Ingram Micro.
Electronic waste is a growing problem in the United States, with millions of tons of e-waste incinerated or placed into landfills each year. By taking those items to the zoo to be recycled, visitors can help reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into the ground, water, and air.
The semi-annual event is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 and 28 in the zoo parking lot.
The zoo's two Power Recycling events in 2012 collected a combined 39,981 pounds, or 19 tons, of recyclables. As a way to say thanks for being a good environmental steward, anyone who brings items for recycling will receive a $2 discount coupon on zoo admission good through Nov. 1.
New this year, the zoo is offering visitors an additional option to help de-clutter their closets in an environmentally-friendly way. Goodwill of Central Indiana will be on site at the event to collect new and gently-used clothes, household items, furniture, books, toys, and more.
Additionally, most electronics - including microwaves, cell phones, and computers - will be accepted. However, large appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and air conditioners will not be accepted.
Yellow Pages will be on hand to provide phone book recycling and document shredding will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days, compliments of Shred Monkey.
The following are examples of what can be recycled during the zoo's Power Recycling Weekend: telephone systems, cell phones, computers and components, monitors (no bare CRT tubes), scanners and copiers, printers, fax machines, backup power systems, external hard drives, satellite components, ink and toner cartridges, keyboards, microwaves, televisions, cables and wiring, electronic motors, metals, integrated circuits, microphones, laserdisc players, VCR/DVD players, video game systems, surge protectors, palm pilots/PDAs, power cables and supplies, office paper, and phone books.
Marking its fourth year as lead sponsor of Power Recycling Weekend, Ingram Micro and its employees will again provide volunteer support. Volunteers will be on hand to help unload vehicles. There is a $5 processing fee for TVs and monitors. Otherwise the service is free. For document shredding, there will be a limit of three boxes per vehicle. Look for the special signs in the zoo parking lot to find the drop-off areas.
In 2009 alone, more than 2.5 million tons of electronic waste was disposed of improperly. Many of these electronic devices contain mercury and lead, which could leach into the ground and contaminate soil and water supplies. Cell phones are a major contributor to this problem; however, cell phones are also a prized recyclable item because of the precious metals they contain. A 2006 report by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that a ton of obsolete cell phones (excluding batteries) contains 140 kilograms of copper, 31.4kg silver, 300g gold, 130g palladium, and 3g platinum. However, according to a recent EPA report, only 8 percent of all out-of-use mobile devices in the United States had been recycled as of 2009.