TECH’s e-Cycle Program Comes to an End
After nine wonderful years, TECH is discontinuing our e-Cycle program, effective March 5th. What began as a pilot program through KDHE, in partnership with Rice County and eventually, Reno County, the e-Cycle program has seen its peak and electronic drop-offs have dwindled to nearly nothing. “The decline in e-waste coming in can be attributed to several different things. People have been asked to clean out their attics, basements and garages for years, bringing us old monitors, desktop computers, printers and keyboards. They’ve gotten rid of it all,” says Don Wornkey, Director of Production for TECH, Inc. Wornkey went on to say, “the government has also stepped in and began offering incentives for large box stores to collect old electronics as customers came in to purchase new, updated items, which eliminates the need for a service like ours.”
During the peak of TECH’s e-Cycle program, we were processing nearly 240,000 pounds of e-waste annually. We employed three full-time staff and had 9 full-time and/or part-time people that we served, working in e-Cycle. “TECH jumped on board with this program because it not only offered a service to the community but also because it was a way for the people TECH serves to gain job skills in a setting that they might not otherwise be a part of and ultimately, earn a paycheck,” said Wornkey.
While the number of people working in e-Cycle has slowly declined due to the decrease in e-waste drop-offs, we will still be transitioning two people into a new job opportunity. TECH has contracts with several other businesses and through those relationships, we can offer opportunities to the people we serve that have a desire to work and gain job skills. Currently, we have a contract with Kroger and the past two years, were able to recycle over 1 Million pounds of plastic.
We have seen several different electronics come through the doors at our e-Cycle location, many of which were normal, everyday items but there are a few drop-offs that really stand out. We had several inventions land at our doorstep, including a 30-year-old drone helicopter, an 8′ x 6′ electrical board and old-time radios that played 78 RPM records.
TECH has had several partners along the way to make our e-Cycle program as successful as it was. We worked with several counties and communities in Kansas to collect e-waste, spanning all the way from Colby to Topeka. When items came into e-Cycle, we would break them down and determine if some of the parts could be salvaged and sold, keeping them out of the landfills. We were able to identify different companies and people throughout the United States that were looking for pieces here and there of the items we were breaking down. We were able to sell and ship items anywhere from Oklahoma to Florida.
We have also had a wonderful partnership with Stutzman’s Refuse through this program. The community was able to take their items to the landfill and recycle their e-waste in a large semi-trailer that Stutzman’s would bring to TECH as needed. Stutzman’s may explore the e-waste industry and we will support them in their efforts if they move forward.
“It was fun watching the people we serve interact with people in the community. Many of our folks picked up job skills beyond the ‘work’ that they were doing and were proud to be a part of the e-Cycle team,” said Wornkey.
For more information or questions, please contact Lacey Mills, Director of Marketing and Development at (620) 663-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org