Doing your part amid a ‘season of waste’, E-waste increased by 21%

Electronic waste (e-waste) has increased by 21% percent over the last few years, which has Solid Waste Department’s working hard to stress the importance of recycling and reuse.
Electronic waste (e-waste) has increased by 21% percent over the last few years, which has Solid Waste Department’s working hard to stress the importance of rec
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - We’re officially days away from the start of the holiday shopping season. But this is also a season of more trash. Some studies predict we’ll accumulate 25% more waste, and we’re not just talking about wrapping paper.

Electronic waste (e-waste) has increased by 21% percent over the last few years, which has Solid Waste Department’s working hard to stress the importance of recycling and reuse.

Six days a week you’ll find Anderson County Solid Waste truck driver Furman Crowe hauling reusable material.

“It’s good for the environment and good for the people,” Crowe said. “We had 8,600 tons of recyclables last year that were kept out of the landfill.”

The county’s Big Creek Recycling Center, a regional materials and recovery facility is a snapshot of the end result. The work actually begins at one of Anderson County’s dozen convenience recycling centers.

“It’s an added benefit, I mean it’s important,” said Mark Perdue, a Williamston resident.

Perdue comes to Whitefield Recycling Center once a week.

“This is just damaged goods,” Perdue said.

On some days, the site sees 1,200 vehicles, and there’s been an increase in people recycling more furniture and e-waste these days.

“This was (previously) being disposed of in a manner not suitable to mankind,” said Joe Campbell, Anderson County Solid Waste Authority material and recovery facility supervisor.

Campbell is referring to the amount of e-waste people generate and where it ends up when it’s not properly recycled.

“It was being disposed of and disassembled by small children in Third World countries for near to nothing pay,” Campbell said.

The United Nation’s estimates America is the second greatest generator of e-waste, and when exported, the World Health Organization estimates 18-million children work in dangerous “digital dumpsters”. South Carolina banned the disposal of specific electronics in landfills in 2011. Another round of revisions passed in 2014 and 2022. But Campbell says citizens have responsibilities as well.

“The e-waste crisis is more real than people know. It is growing every day,” he said.

Campbell and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminds people to donate their electronics to a certified electronics recycler.

“It cannot be brokered overseas until it’s been taken apart and put back into raw materials before it leaves the county,” he said.

Campbell also urges people to have their devices personal data removed by a professional before recycling a device.

“That’s important because it leads to identity theft,” he said.

Old electronics aren’t the only things people will be recycling this time of year, wrapping paper can be recycled with “mixed paper”, and learn the seven types of commonly used plastics and their symbols. Not all recycling centers accept even half of them.

“See this is a 5 (Polypropylene or PP) plastic -- this would be kicked out of my plastics at the material and recovery facility,” Campbell said.

Recycling flier from Anderson
Recycling flier from Anderson(Anderson County Solid Waste)