MSSM Key Club, Chamber of Commerce hold second electronics recycling event
LIMESTONE, Maine — Students from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics once again joined forces with members of the Limestone Chamber of Commerce over the weekend to host a local electronics recycling event.
Electronics End, LLC in Brewer again sponsored the event, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Limestone Public Works garage. A truck holding 44 large boxes, 22 from Limestone and another 22 from Easton, was headed for the Brewer recycling center shortly after the event, according to Limestone Economic Development Coordinator Dennis McCartney.
The company accepted TVs, computers, monitors, printers and a host of other electronics. The first customer, according to McCartney, was a local repairman who filled three boxes with obsolete flat screen televisions.
Students this year separated into two crews, with six students working from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and another group of four working from 11 to 1 p.m..
At about 9:30, a handful of students were gathered around a mid-90s computer tower, dissecting it for parts while waiting for the next drop-off.
“They’re cannibalizing the computers to see if there’s anything worth taking back, like memory sticks or power supplies,” said McCartney. “These are the kids that build their own computers.”
Frank Beil of Limestone, who got involved for the second year, said there could be some value in deconstructing a computer and that students may want to use some of the parts in other machines or electronics projects and that there is a possibility that someone gifted in chemistry may be able to salvage a small amount of gold from some of the more ancient machines.
Beil added that he and everyone involved make sure to remove the hard drives, as those need to be separated from the rest of the parts since they could contain passwords or credit card numbers.
He said he enjoyed last year’s event and didn’t hesitate to get involved again this year, as it “gives people a chance to keep garbage off the street” and is overall a “good thing for the town.”
Beil said there are a plethora of issues associated with simply throwing out a computer along with the rest of the garbage.
“They don’t really decompose as fast,” he said, “and there are plastic parts left behind. And if it’s a laptop, the lithium ion battery could leak into the soil. You have to be diligent with these things.”
MSSM Key Club Vice President Annette Mubang said the student organization is focused on helping the community that has given them a space to live and learn, and that some of their projects involve renovating the Albert Michaud Park playground, helping out at the Closet Frog thrift store and at Manaus Books, and participating in the annual light parade. Looking ahead, she hopes to help out senior citizens residing in the Rising Hill nursing home.
Mubang said her philosophy is that if MSSM students are going to be staying in Limestone while attending classes, they “might as well give back to the town.”
“The only way to do that is to make sure we’re involved with the people here,” she said, “and to make sure they know we’re not just snot-nosed kids from southern Maine. We’re here to be a part of the community, not just to drain out their facilities and leave.”
Mubang said she would like to get to know the people of Limestone more and to ensure that she and her fellow classmates are leaving their own legacy in Limestone, “just as Limestone has left its legacy in Aroostook County.”
Beil summarized his impetus for involvement as an effort to “try to save the planet a little bit and to do our part.”