UW Oshkosh celebrates Earth Week

Jessica Zemlicka

The third annual UW Oshkosh Electronic-Waste Recycling Event collected 2,760 pounds of old electronics on Tuesday at the Blackhawk Commons parking lot.
Aimee Niendorf, renewable energy center manager, said this event, is a part of Earth Week.
“The event began with the hope of keeping electronics out of our landfill and finding ways to recycle the ever-growing amount of obsolete electronics,” Niendorf said.
Niendorf said the event, a joint effort of the student organization Student Environmental Action Coalition, the Renewable Energy Center and the Campus Sustainability Office, collected a variety of electronics including cell phones, cords, printers and DVDs.
According to Niendorf, the E-Waste Recycling Event is necessary because it keeps electronic waste out of landfills.
“We are environmentally conscious,” Niendorf said. “So, eliminating some of the toxins and hazardous materials from the landfills is important.”
UWO Sustainability Director Brian Kermath said there are three main reasons to recycle electronics instead of throwing them away.
“The products contain toxic compounds that should not go to landfills where those compounds can leach out into the environment thereby contaminating water resources,” Kermath said. “Many of the components can be recycled to become the raw materials for new products, thereby reducing the need to source virgin materials for those new products. [And] the more you practice recycling behaviors, the more aware you become of the tremendous volume of products we all consume.”
UWO junior Kaitlyn Kasuboski said she loves to see events like the E-waste event held at UWO because it shows the University’s commitment to sustainability.
“Recycling is really important to me and I love seeing events promoting it,” Kasuboski said. “Sustainability is huge, so any event which gives the campus the opportunity to better the earth, plus get rid of old electronics, is a win for me.”
Kermath said recycling is a small part of sustainability, but it is a part most people are intimately connected to as consumers of these products that get old and must be discarded.
“It’s my hope that people consider historically viewed wastes as resources to the extent possible, but also to discharge them—to the extent that they must be discharged—slower than they can be assimilated by the environment and in a way that does no harm to human populations or Earth’s life-giving systems,” Kermath said.
Niendorf said this event was made possible because of the support from staff and student volunteers, especially Dan Strey and his team, who sort and find vendors to buy or take the used electronics.
Kasuboski said she hopes to see more Earth Week events and continued student interest in the future.
“Having students participate in events and also putting in effort towards the betterment of our environment is awesome, and I hope to see more of it in the coming years,” Kasuboski said.