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NIH E-Cycles for Earth Day 2003

To celebrate Earth Day (Tuesday, Apr. 22) this year, NIH will be hosting a first-ever community electronics recycling (e-cycling) event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 12 in the Bldg. 31F parking lot, rain or shine. Sponsored by the EPA and the Maryland department of the environment, the event is part of a regional pilot project to improve collection and recycling of electronic equipment.

Virtually all types of privately owned electronics will be accepted and in any condition, ranging from new to junk. Examples include cell phones, computers, laptops, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, modems, mice (inanimate varieties only), TVs, typewriters, fax and answering machines, phones, VCRs, radios and tape players. This event is for federal employees and the public; equipment owned by the government, businesses or organizations will not be accepted.

E-cycling programs such as this are being developed as collaborative efforts by government agencies, retailers and the electronics industry to address the growing global problem of electronics disposal. The "detritus of technology" is one of the fastest growing portions of America's trash. Vast quantities of computers and accessories, televisions and other electronic equipment are being discarded; the rate of generation of these wastes is accelerating as technology improves and equipment becomes obsolete more rapidly. For example, approximately 250 million computers are destined to become obsolete by 2005. Many types of electronics contain toxic materials such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. In the U.S., it is estimated that approximately 70 percent of the toxic metals in landfills comes from discarded electronics. Pollution and the potential for adverse health affects from improper disposal of electronics are becoming serious concerns.

All of the items collected at NIH's e-cycling event will be refurbished or recycled. E-cycling keeps electronics out of landfills and municipal waste incinerators and assures that they will be reused or recycled in a manner that protects the environment. Almost all of the materials in electronics — ranging from plastics and glass to precious metals — can be extracted and reused. E-cycling also helps reduce the pollution and energy use tied to the production of new electronics. Finally, it can put a computer, TV or cell phone in the hands of someone who really needs one.

There will be no charge for this service. Owners should ensure that all sensitive data, files, etc., on computer equipment are removed before delivery to the collection center.

More information on NIH's e-cycling event and a map showing the location of the collection site are available on the Office of Research Service's Division of Safety web page: or by calling the Environmental Protection Branch at 496-7775.

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