July 24, 2019
The Upper Peninsula (U.P.) electronics collection network is a voluntary program aimed at increasing the collection and proper recycling of unwanted consumer and business electronics. By the end of this summer, residents will have access to numerous new electronic recycling drop-off locations across the U.P. and by 2020, 17 permanent drop-off locations will be established. This initiative will result in a 100% increase in legitimate recycling opportunities.
This expanded access for electronics recycling is due to a new partnership facilitated by EGLE between Comprenew, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit certified electronics recycler with headquarters in Grand Rapids, and Goodwill Industries of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Goodwill will now be picking up electronics at drop-off sites and allow residents to drop-off electronics at their retail stores, and Comprenew will process the materials. Through this unique partnership, the recycling cost will remain affordable, as Comprenew is able to expand electronics recycling and refurbishing services to the area and utilize Goodwill's existing collection fleet of vehicles.
"Access to certified electronic recyclers in the U.P. was greatly needed, and this collaborative approach has worked greatly to address the unique challenges of recycling in a rural area of Michigan," said Steve Noble, EGLE's Electronics Recycling Specialist.
In addition to facilitating a partnership between Comprenew and Goodwill, EGLE also funded six one-day electronic recycling events in 2018, organized by Goodwill and the Superior Watershed Partnership for U.P. residents. These one-day events resulted in 425,000 pounds of electronics being recycled. Three recycling collection events are scheduled for 2019.
Goodwill of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan was recently awarded a $51,110 Rural Electronics Grant. Funding will allow Goodwill to establish permanent electronics collection locations, purchase handling equipment to support the collection network, host electronics community collection events, and assist with the secure handling of data-containing devices from collection to the point of recycling.
EGLE established the Rural Electronic Recycling Grant program to increase access and support proper electronics recycling in rural areas. Grant funds can be used to support improvements to current collection programs or to support electronics collection recycling events leading up to the establishment of new permanent collection locations. The grant period is currently open until August 1. Visit the program website to learn more about recycling grant opportunities and recycling locations.