CSUN sells its used electronics and recycles obsolete devices

Senior Robert Stokes, 25, computer science major, fixes computers as a side business and said he comes across old computers all the time.  While he uses some of the parts, he throws away the rest.

Stokes said  there are places that recycle old electronic products, but he doesn’t always use them.

“Sometimes I throw them away… and I feel really guilty for a while,” he said.

The idea that obsolete electronics should be disposed of properly is still relatively new. E-waste (electronic waste) is electronic devices, such as cellphones, batteries, cords and wires, ink cartridges, fluorescent light bulbs, televisions, computers, calculators and MP3 players.

According to Cyndi Signett, the recycling coordinator for Associated Students Campus Recycling Services, the only e-waste they currently accept is old cellphones and ink jet cartridges.

Stokes said rather than throwing old batteries away, he keeps them in a drawer.

“The only place that I know that will actually throw it (e-waste) away, is literally like a dump,” Stokes said.  “I’m in the (electronic) industry so I should know where to take it and not just throw it in a dumpster.”

CSUN, however, has been disposing of campus e-waste properly for years.

Bruce Weinstein, director of logistical services for Physical Plant Management (PPM), said they are in charge of reusing, selling, donating or recycling CSUN’s resources whether they are tables and chairs or electronics.

“Anything which has any kind of a motherboard or any kind of electronics on it will be assessed whether we can reuse it,” Weinstein said.  “We’ll put it out to the general campus (departments) because we’re always looking to recycle whatever pieces of equipment we possibly can.  As a matter of fact, (the) journalism (department), has pulled a lot of equipment through our survey pile through asset management.”

Anything that isn’t claimed is either donated to non-profit organizations, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) or sold.

Travis Thomas, materials manager for PPM, said electronics no longer needed are sold through auction and proceeds go back into the school’s student assistance fund.

“In the case of our sales it actually goes into the bookstore,” Thomas said.  “Financial aid has a bookstore loan program where they have debit cards (with a value up) to $300 that they (use to) give a short term loan to students who need to buy their books but can’t afford it at the time.”

Anything remaining is recycled by Electronic Recyclers International, who come by every six weeks or so to collect CSUN’s electronic waste. This is only for what is considered a state asset and personal items are not allowed.

“One of the reasons that we use this company is because we’re responsible (for the products), cradle to death, Weinstein said.  “We ultimately have a responsibility for these particular items, one of the reasons we do use this company is because we know they recycle it.  As a matter of fact we even have the ability, if we want to watch it on a closed circuit webcast.”

On Friday the A.S. Campus Recycling Services and Institute for Sustainability are co-sponsoring an e-waste recycling event with All Green Electronics Recycling for the campus and community to dispose of their e-waste.

Signett said the A.S. Campus Recycling Services hopes to make this a yearly event.