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Service Learning: E waste project a huge success

By Tom Larson

Sun Tribune

The Morris Area High School Service Learning Program's electronics waste recycling day Tuesday was a huge success, and students in the program would like to make it an annual Earth Day event.

The five-hour, free drop-off service was organized by the Student Energy Leadership Team and Stevens County, and proved to be a popular attraction for people looking to get rid of televisions, computers or any of electronic items that can be hooked to them.

The recycling project netted a full semi-trailer and nine roll-off containers full of electronics. Traffic at times stretch out of the Morris Area Elementary School parking lot and down the hill on Columbia Avenue.

"The longest wait was 25 minutes, but people didn't seem to mind," said Cheryl Kuhn, the district's Service Learning Coordinator. "People loved the service."

About 50 students and adult volunteers unloaded vehicles and loaded the semi and roll-offs. Jack's Recycling in Alexandria is taking the electronics waste and recycling components and properly disposing of material such as lead and mercury that are found in the electronics items.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kuhn had not received an exact weight of the items, but estimated that each roll-off could hold between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds.

In addition to keeping harmful products out of landfills, the recycling project served to motivate students, who already are engaged in other eco-friendly activities as part of their Service Learning work.

"A student said to me, 'It's amazing that, as one person, how I can inspire an entire community,' " Kuhn said.