The University of Mississippi has always had few recycling options on campus, but the William Magee Center and Tech Trash want to change that. They started Oct. 12, when they set up a table at the Union Plaza, in order to give people a way to recycle old electronics students no longer have any use for.
This event was created by the William Magee Center, which, according to the University of Mississippi website, is dedicated to “changing and improving lives through education, research, and support related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and holistic well-being.”
In this case, the William Magee Center staff had a meeting about a disposal day and decided to have one focusing on technology.
“We saw it as an educational opportunity to let students know, ‘hey, there’s a proper way to do this, and we want to help you do it,’” Coordinator of Wellness Education Jazmine Kelley said.
Tech Trash was the company they ended up partnering with to dispose of the e-waste they collected. Kelley said the William Magee Center wanted to collaborate with Oxford Waste Management and managed to get in touch with Tech Trash and Bobby Tidwell, the owner.
“People bring us their own computers, printers, monitors and phones,” Tidwell said. “When we take them, they do not go to a landfill. What we do is we break them down into their parts, and we sell the parts, and if there’s something that still has life afterwards it’s going to be upgraded.”
Tidwell said the idea and goal is to make sure nothing winds up in a landfill.
For anyone worried about data still being on the device that they recycle, Tidwell said, “Anything that has private information, like a hard drive on a computer, hard drives are shredded, so it’s all completely safe. You’re safe. You don’t have to worry about somebody getting your information down the line.”
Right now, there are some limitations to Tech Trash’s operations, but Tidwell said they are hoping to change that in the future.
“In the future… You can email us, call us, however you want to do it and we’d come out to visit you and we’ll pick it up on your side rather than you having to come to our side, kind of make it a little easier, as easy as we make it as far as getting rid of stuff like that,” Tidwell said.
Eventually, both the William Magee Center and Tech Trash hope to expand their collaboration so it will be easier for students to recycle old devices.
“Well in the future, we’ll have it where you’ll know we’re coming to town on this date,” Tidwell said. “We hope to do that on campus, maybe some buildings on campus or residence halls.”
Some students were also interested in being able to recycle old tech.
“Tech disposal is really important, because we don’t know what is in that tech,” Ph.D. student Tahir Ali said. “So it is better to dispose of them in a right way, so that we don’t have any harmful effects on your environment. So it’s a good thing, if you are disposing of that thing and you are giving them to a professional who knows how to recycle them or how to dispose them.”
Many students agree that a way to recycle e-waste would be helpful to have on campus.
“I have so many techs, I feel like. Old phones and other stuff I used to use, and I have no idea what to do with that anymore,” graduate student Muna Abdelrahman said. “When it comes to the environment, I feel like it’s a good thing to do.”
When asked about the immediate future of recycling e-waste on campus, Kelley said they plan on doing this event again.
“My best advice I could give is to find those like Bobby Tidwell with Tech Trash that you can contact and give your old tech to,” Kelley said. “Then if you have any questions outside of that you can reach out to the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability, as well as the Oxford Waste Management.”