I’m curious about what happened with the Electronics Recycling Event last fall. Do you have an update?
Thank you so much for asking! On September 24th, 15 neighborhoods from across Minneapolis held an Electronics Recycling Event at Mayflower Church in Tangletown. We hired an electronics recycler, Repowered (formerly Tech Dump), to safely collect items for reuse or recycling. The event’s purpose was for Minneapolis residents to easily and inexpensively bring in their electronic waste for proper disposal and circumvent the incinerator and landfill. The event was extraordinarily successful, but much busier than our planning team or our vendor anticipated. We collected over 16 tons, or 32,000 pounds of electronics and small appliances—over seven times what we expected! Volunteers and Repowered staff were on site for an additional four hours after the event ended to continue loading electronics into trucks.
Unfortunately, due to the realities of electronics recycling in Minnesota at this time, safe recycling and disposal costs are high. Even with collecting $5,000 in donations at the event, the final vendor fees were much higher than expected due to the volume and weight collected. Repowered generously waived their staff’s overtime fees for the event, which brought each of the 15 neighborhood’s portion of the expense down to around $700 each.
The Electronics Recycling Event was a great event. We’re happy to have hosted it, especially to understand the sheer volume of electronic waste out there and our community’s understanding of how to dispose of it. Minnesota passed an electronic waste law in 2007 when electronic recycling focused on items such as bulky televisions, computers, and fax machines. The law requires manufacturers to buy recycling credits based on the weight of their products. Since then, the state has diverted over 400 million pounds of electronics from landfills and incinerators. In 2022, recycling advocates asked the state Legislature to update the program as items have become smaller and lighter. The goal is to recapture more valuable metals to decrease the demand for new mining operations and keep more hazardous waste out of landfills and incinerators, disproportionately located near low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
That’s where we all come in! Knowledge is power. Understanding where and when to dispose of electronic items can reduce our overall use of our downtown Minneapolis incinerator and give us a fuller understanding of the impact of our consumer choices.
Many of the items brought to the e-waste recycling event—televisions, computer monitors, fans, lamps, small appliances—were items that the City of Minneapolis will pick up from its residential Solid Waste & Recycling customers for no additional cost as part of their collection service. In Minneapolis, crews will take up to two large items per week, and electronic items can be picked up for recycling when set out and labeled ‘For Solid Waste’ on your designated recycling day. Note: If items are not marked, they may not collect them.
Items to set out by 6 a.m. on your recycling pick-up day:
• Air conditioners
• Freezers and refrigerators (you must remove the doors)
• Washing machines
• Computer monitors
• Accessories (speakers, keyboard, mice)
• Cellular telephones*
*If you are worried about sensitive data on your devices, use an electronics recycling service like Repowered, which can guarantee data destruction.
Don’t want to wait until your recycling day? Get rid of items right away by bringing them to a drop-off location. Residents can use up to six cleanup vouchers at the South Transfer Station annually. Each voucher is valid for up to two large recyclable items.
Please reference the City of Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling website (or the Hennepin County Green Disposal Guide if you are a Hennepin County resident not living in Minneapolis) to learn more about large item and electronic waste recycling. Check out this great article on Repowered from the Sahan Journal, too. And always remember that repair and reuse are even better than recycling. Take care of your appliances and electronics, repair vs. replace whenever possible, and use your appliances and electronics for as long as possible. This is good for your wallet AND the environment! If you no longer want/need an appliance or electronic item that is still usable, please give it away, sell it, or bring it to a company like Repowered to be refurbished and resold for reuse.