E-waste: Knowledge is Power

Hello Sustainability Sammers! I’ve got great news for you this month. Hennepin County has awarded the Tangletown Neighborhood Association’s Environmental Committee another Green Partners Grant to educate, engage, and empower residents to become environmental stewards! With this year’s grant, we will work to educate Tangletown, Minneapolis, and other Hennepin County residents on how to prolong the life of their electronics and how to properly dispose of items when they can no longer be repaired or reused.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your old laptop when you get a new one? Or have you felt forced to get a new phone or other tech device because the battery died too quickly? And what’s up with batteries anyway?! Are they recyclable? Are they trash? Then there’s the question: What should we do with old battery-operated tools and toys that stop working (and why do we have so many)? And what about appliances? Can a beloved toaster or coffee pot that suddenly conks out be repaired, or is it destined for a landfill or incinerator? We will have answers to these questions and more during our Managing Electronic, Appliance, and Tech Waste Responsibly Event Series.

Our e-waste programming will begin this fall with two virtual expert panel discussions. Our first event on October 26 will address the impact of electronics and technology waste and answer questions about what happens to it. We will have waste experts from non-profits, local government, and local recycling centers to help us understand this issue better. Our second event on November 16 will discuss resource sharing—introducing us to lending libraries such as tool and toy libraries and helping us understand the positive impacts of implementing a system of sharing, borrowing, and gifting items such as small appliances, toys, and tools. You can find out more about these events by visiting tangletown.org/e-waste.  

The series will continue in 2024 as we organize a tour of an e-waste recycling center and host a Fix-It Clinic. We will continue to educate our community on how to get more longevity out of their technology through maintenance and proper data storage and how to advocate for solutions to the ever-frustrating problem of planned obsolescence.

The committee is excited to bring this e-waste education grant project to you and is busy organizing events. They hope you will join them via Zoom on Thursday, October 26 at 7:00 for their first event, “What happens to electronic, appliance and tech waste?” Learn more and register for events online at tangletown.org/e-waste