When improperly discarded, these items not only take up valuable landfill space, they can leak hazardous substances such as mercury and lead into the ground. As of this year, California state law made it illegal to dispose of these materials in the garbage. The California Integrated Waste Management Board can impose fines of up to $2,500 for violations.
The storage facility has donated a 360-square-foot unit for the collection of e-waste. Thomas sorts the goods into boxes that are collected by a garbage truck and taken to a recycling plant in Riverside, Calif. There the items are broken down so materials such as copper and nickel can be extracted.
In October, the storage team took their efforts even further by hosting a mixer at the facility, inviting representatives of local "green" businesses and encouraging them to follow better practices for waste removal. They have also spread the word by informing tenants about the program and posting fliers in public venues such as libraries. People can drop off e-waste at the facility from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
In seven months, Smith and her team have collected 17 tons of e-waste, which earned more than $5,000 from the recycling plants. The funds are currently going to the Corona Public Library Fund for the purchase of new computers. Next, the group will raise funds for Norco’s library.