For a while, it was looking like an electronics liquidation sale in the parking lot at the Outpost Mall on Finnie Flat Road on Saturday morning, Feb. 11.
There was a tower of televisions and massive boxes of everything from old computer parts to a robotic vacuum.
This was no sale.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality was in town, teamed up with the Town of Camp Verde, the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, the Yavapai-Apache Nation and a Phoenix company that harvests e-waste to help collect old electronic items that can’t be recycled by normal means.
“Let me ask you this,” said Kathy Campbell with the Phoenix company. “Do you have an old cellphone lying around that you don’t use anymore.”
Just about everyone does, Campbell said, in addition to other type of broken, outdated and obsolete electronics that just sit around taking up space.
Mark Shaffer, ADEQ director of communications, estimated that between the Camp Verde site and one in Cottonwood, they would easily collect around 20,000 pounds of old electronics.
Most of the discarded electronics are taken by truck to the Phoenix area, where they are put through an industrial shredder to begin the process of separating out the plastics and other components to eventually find new life as part of something else.
Campbell said that things like memory cards, hard drives and cell phones are “flashed” to ensure that no personal data is left behind.
“We try to keep most of the recycling here in Arizona,” Campbell said, “because of the job situation. We need to keep the jobs in Arizona.”
Still, there are some items like CRT monitors containing lead that have to be shipped out of state because there are no facilities in Arizona licensed to properly dispose of them.
While many common electronic items are collected, the e-waste company’s owner Earl Campbel said plenty of stranger items have made their way to his recycling facility, including seismic readers and flight controls.
Shaffer said ADEQ decided to come back to Camp Verde after a similar event a couple of years ago collected 6.5 tons of electronics.
“We had more that 100 vehicles turn out for our first event in Camp Verde, and the feedback was very positive,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin in a statement announcing the event. “This is a great opportunity for those living in the Camp Verde area to dispose of all the unwanted electronics they have collected over the years while at the same time ensuring that this potentially toxic stream of waste is disposed of responsibly and does not take up valuable landfill space.”
According to Shaffer, ADEQ has held 52 similar collection events across the state, collecting 1.3 million pounds of electronic waste dropped off by more than 10,000 vehicles.
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