What does your church do with all its used-up lamps, ballasts, computers, TVs and plasma displays, sound equipment, and batteries? Do you simply throw them out when their useful life is gone? If so, Linda Dunwoody, operations manager in the Tallahassee, Fla., office of recycling solutions company Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC, says church leaders should think twice.
“There are very specific laws in some places regarding disposal of these materials,” Dunwoody reports. “For example, in Tennessee you can’t throw a lamp away [legally] in a landfill, because it contains mercury.”
But whether or not your church is in a state with specific restrictions on the disposal of electronic waste, Dunwoody urges churches to consider the ramifications of chosen disposal methods on the environment. “A four-foot fluorescent lamp will contaminate 7,000 gallons of drinking water. That’s the kind of information we’re striving to get out to people. Even when there aren’t specific laws, you shouldn’t simply throw away lamps and other electronics. There are easy ways to manage these materials in a safe, responsible way,” she says.
Several ways that Veolia offers to help churches dispose of electronic waste are its RecyclePak program, where a prepaid container is ordered from Veolia. “You fill it and call Fed Ex and they pick it up and deliver it to one of our four recycling centers in the United States,” Dunwoody says. From there, Veolia’s will recycle the materials and create a certificate of recycling showing it has been done properly. Veolia then sends one certificate to the church to keep on file, and keeps one in a secure database.
Dunwoody adds, “With more and more building owners [and churches] trying to gain LEED certification, our RecyclePak program is an answer because it is easy and we track and document the recycling effort.”
Veolia also offers a bulk service program for those with large-scale recycling needs. In this scenario, Veolia will dispatch a truck to pick up recyclables. “For example, if a church was doing a full re-lamping, we could offer the bulk service,” Dunwoody says. “The church’s electrician boxes up all of the lamp waste, in this instance, and we transport it on a Veolia truck [to one of our recycling centers].” Again, the church is issued a certificate to keep on file and prove its safe disposal methods. Veolia, too, keeps a backup record on file in case the church ever needs it.
To learn more about Veolia and its recycling services that apply to churches, visit www.VeoliaES.com.