Have an old cell phone you’d like to get rid of? How about that old printer cartridge? Wellesley and District Cooperative Preschool (WDCP) will gladly take it off your hands as it looks to help tackle the growing problem of electronic waste and earn some cash all at the same time.
Teaming with Cambridge’s Greentec, the company behind the Think Recycle program, the preschool is collecting old cell phones and cartridges so that they can be processed and recycled.
“The primary objective is to raise funds for the school and also to bring awareness of recycling to the kids,” said WDCP president Tammy Egli.
Though the children – aged 2 to 4 – are perhaps a little young to fully comprehend the concept of recycling, they are quickly learning about the value and importance of their actions.
It’s all about starting young.
“It’s a very good age to start with them on that,” said Egli. “I think it’s a great program for the age of our kids and that they’re starting on that; they’ll be helping me load the boxes going to UPS, and they get an understanding of what it is that we’re doing – I think it’s a great program for them to start their recycling initiative.”
More than 300 million empty printer cartridges are generated in North America each year, representing some 410 million kilograms (900 million lbs) of waste that can potentially end up in landfills. The Think Recycle program has been responsible for the diversion of more than one million cartridges from landfills and has provided nearly $3 million in funding to its participants.
According to Greentec, more than 20,000 schools in North America participate in the Think Recycle program.
In addition to doling out money for these materials, Greentec also donates one tree to either Tree Canada or American Forests for every 24 qualifying cell phones or cartridge turned in by participants.
WDCP already sent its first shipment and is now waiting to determine the profits. The school gets anywhere from 50 cents to $4 per submitted cell phone or cartridge.
It appears that the initiative is moving quickly.
“I have a bin sitting there already and it’s starting to fill up again,” said Egli.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t get them refilled (printer cartridges) and just ditch them.”
The public can drop off old cell phones or printer cartridges at Wellesley preschool, but are asked to contact Egli to arrange for convenient drop-off or pickup times.
For more information, check out www.thinkrecycle.com.