Officials said the recent electronic recycling event attracted more businesses than past drives, and there were more food pantry donations collected.

City Administrator Russell Rost said there were about 20,000 pounds in recyclable electronics collected during the Friday, Nov. 1, drive.

The event was specifically held on a weekday to attract more businesses. Other electronic recycling events have been held on Saturdays when many businesses are closed.

“It is more convenient for businesses for a Friday than a Saturday,” said Rost. “We “even had businesses as far as Sullivan that brought office-type electronics.”

He added that the city will likely hold two electronic recycling drives each year — one held on a Saturday, and the other during the week, possibly on a Friday.

“The company that holds the drive suggested that businesses get missed on weekends,” Rost said. “Weekdays are more convenient for them, and the material businesses drop off are good quality for recycling.”

Rost said there were 167 vehicles that dropped off items last Friday.

The event was conducted with Midwest Recycling Center (MRC), based in Crystal City. The recycling drive was open to anyone, not just Union residents or businesses.

MRC is a state-certified recycling business that specializes in the safe disposal of computers, electronics and appliances. MRC often works with businesses and communities across eastern Missouri to conduct large-scale recycling efforts that greatly reduce waste going to landfills.

There has been a total of 145,506 pounds of electronics recycled during all of the city’s events.

Rost said there was a limit of one CRT television collected at no cost. Each additional CRT television is $20. Computer hard drives are erased with federally approved software.

But the number of CRT televisions was down during this collection.

“I think we saw a reduction in CRTs as people are getting rid of them and they are no longer available to purchase,” Rost said.

Major appliances, including washers, dryers, dishwashers, and those with refrigerants, also were collected.

Other items collected included printers, keyboards, computer mice, cellphones, wires and cables, pagers, scanners, speakers, VCRs, DVD players, fax machines, telephones, answering machines, microwaves, stereos, gaming systems, cameras, stoves, air-conditioning units, car batteries and other items.

Gas- and electronic-powered yard tools also were collected if they were drained of all gas and oil.

Pantry Donations

City staff collects cash and food during each electronic recycling drive which is presented to the Union Food Pantry.

There was more cash collected during Friday’s drive than any previous drive. The cash totaled $706 and six boxes of food were collected.

“This was our highest cash donation,” Rost noted “It was almost $300 more cash than is normally collected.”

A total of $2,689.61, and food items, have been collected during electronic recycling drives.

Cost Effective

According to Rost, the cost to MRC to conduct the drive is made up by material collected. And the drive provides work for MRC employees.

“They provide several jobs for Midwest Recycling Center,” he said. “Their employees disassemble and prepare for marketing — it does provide a significant number of jobs for those people.”

The cost to the city is minimal, Rost noted.

“It is very cost effective for us to put it on,” he said. “We provide the property and we utilize our salaried staff so we don’t pay overtime, even if it is on a Saturday.”

City Efforts

Rost explained that the electronic recycling drive is just one of the city’s endeavors to be a more green community.

“We want to keep this stuff out of the landfills and out of our rivers and streams,” he said.

The city also offers weekly recycling pickup through its trash collection contract, but there also is a trailer at city hall for recyclables.

The city also has hosted several tire recycling events with the help of the Union FFA. The events have been a significant fund-raiser for the organization, Rost said.

“These events are good for the community and good for the environment,” he said.

Rost added that there is a grant being written for funds to hold a household chemical collection event.