E-waste disposal available this weekend

Posted Sept. 12, 2011, at 4:57 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Disposing of old electronics is difficult and expensive, and improperly disposing of electronic waste harms the environment and is illegal.

The Challenger Learning Center of Maine, partnering with eWaste Recycling Solutions of Auburn, will accept electronic waste for proper disposal 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, free of charge.

The event, which has approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, is open to residents from any community. All electronic devices will be accepted, excluding smoke detectors, batteries and fluorescent lights. Businesses also may participate, but there is a fee structure in place for them.

Disposal of electronic waste for people and businesses typically is quite difficult, according to Saturday’s event coordinator, Jennifer Therrien.

“It is normally very hard to dispose of e-waste. People who come are grateful for the service. Most towns severely limit what you can dispose of per year. Last year we had a few businesses participate as well,” she said Monday.

Challenger Learning Center officials urge participants in Saturday’s program to consider making a charitable donation to support the center’s programs. This is the second year the center will hold the event. According to Therrien, last year’s event was largely successful and she expects this year’s event to be even bigger.

“There were about 400 vehicles last year. What they bring varied from a single computer, to truckloads of stuff. The word is really getting out there. We are expecting a big turnout. There is no maximum,” she said.

The Challenger Learning Center was established in remembrance of the six astronauts and teacher in space Christa McAuliffe who died on Jan. 28, 1986, when the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. The center is a private, nonprofit corporation that offers various educational programs focusing on math and science, including simulated space missions, and science education camps for students during summer and other vacations.

“The event is really important for two reasons,” Therrien said of Saturday’s electronic waste disposal. “The first is that it raises awareness for us. Half the people who showed up last year didn’t even know we existed. Secondly it generates much-needed funds. All donations are used to help bring more children to the center, and to inspire student interest in the scientific field. There is a great need for that right now.”

The Bangor center was the 44th Challenger Learning Center site to open and has been helping to educate Maine students since June 15, 2001. The center is located at 30 Venture Way. Call 990-2900 ext. 3 for more details.

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