• UST’s computer-recycling programs benefit the environment, local nonprofits

    Now that UST has moved to leasing rather than purchasing computer equipment, the recycling stream of old computers and monitors has decreased steadily. Nonetheless, UST still has recycled 26,811 pounds or almost 13 and a half tons of electronics since the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, 2000.

    Much of this weight was sent to area processors to have the components broken down into recyclable commodities with all harmful metals and materials removed. Modern electronic computer equipment is made of more than 1,000 different materials, including lead and cadmium in computer circuit boards, lead oxide and barium in computer monitors’ cathode-ray tubes, mercury in switches and flat screens, and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, cables and plastic casing, photo-active and biologically active materials and acids. Society doesn’t want most of these chemicals in its landfills and especially its water supply, so UST pays expensive processing fees to have them removed.

    Whenever possible, the Recycling Team pulls out reusable components to benefit local nonprofits and to save the university these processing costs. So far this fiscal year, the Recycling Team has given away 263 computers, 296 monitors and 52 printers.

    These electronics have gone to a variety of schools, churches and nonprofits, including (alphabetically):

    Bethel Assembly, Fosston
    Bethel Christian Fellowship, St. Paul
    Breckenridge Valley Assembly
    Catholic Digest
    Center for Asian Pacific Islanders
    Children’s Center, Montessori School
    Christ the King-St. Thomas the Apostle School
    Christian Fellowship Union
    Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle
    Duluth Gospel Tabernacle
    Ekklesia Fellowship
    Estherville Community School
    Family Academy Charter School
    First Presbyterian Church, South St. Paul
    Fosston Baptist Church
    Global Radio Outreach
    Highland Catholic School
    Hope Christian Church
    Johnson High School, St. Paul
    Marquette Gospel Tabernacle
    Mary Mother of God Church (Vladivostock, Russia)
    Maternity of Mary-St. Andrew’s School
    Maxfield Elementary School
    NET Ministries
    Salvation Army Silver Lake Camp
    Sand Hill Lake Bible Camp
    Sisters of Mary, Ladysmith
    St. Charles Borromeo School
    St. Elizabeth Seton School
    St. John’s School in Jordan
    St. Katherine’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church
    St. Mark’s School
    St. Matthew’s School
    St. Paul High School for the Recording Arts
    St. Paul Outreach
    St. Raphael’s School
    St. Vincent de Paul School
    Starland Charter Schools
    Teens Alone
    Trinity Bible Church
    University of Minnesota at Crookston
    Walker Family Center

    There are several area schools whose entire computing labs have been furnished by UST’s unwanted electronics. The university is happy to help these local students (and potential Tommies) with this valuable resource.

    While the university cannot accept computer systems from private individuals because of the high cost of reprocessing, it does encourage everyone to give away any useable old equipment to area schools, churches, libraries and nonprofits. Don’t leave it in the closet, because it very soon loses any possible value to these nonprofits. And as a bonus, you receive a tax benefit for your charitable contribution.

    If you have any questions about St. Thomas’ electronics recycling or know of a nonprofit in need of older but usable computer components, please contact Bob Douglas, UST recycling coordinator, at (651) 962-6388.