Charlotte E‑waste campaign is big hit

piles and piles of ewasteLooking for a perfect sweeps “community” campaign? How about putting together a team and sponsors to create an electronic waste (e‑waste) drive in your community? That’s what happened in Charlotte over the weekend thanks to online green media company Do Your Part, WBTW-TV, Goodwill and Lowes Foods.

Nearly every garage in America contains old TV sets, computers and other electronic waste that requires special handling due to toxic chemicals used in manufacturing and construction. Few waste companies will handle these items as part of regular waste service, and community dumps charge for dropping them off. Consequently, they just take up room in garages.

E‑waste is also an issue, because many of the companies that handle it simple ship it to rural areas in China and elsewhere, where children are exposed to these toxins as they disassemble the devices and sell parts. Consequently, it’s a complicated but very needed process to dispose of them properly.

ewaste campaign in charlotte

Do Your Part has assembled the right team. The goods are donated to Goodwill, which has licenses with reclamation points that strip the materials in safe environments and dispose of the rest properly. The TV station partner supports and hosts the event, and the grocery store chain provides the parking lot and pays for the event.

Terri Bennett totes that bargeThe event this weekend in Charlotte far exceeded organizers’ expectations. Hoping to fill six Goodwill semi-trailers at Lowes Foods locations in Charlotte, Gastonia and Hickory, the Saturday event nearly tripled that. According to Do Your Part’s Terri Bennett:

Nearly 2000 donations filled 15 semi-truck trailers and helped divert hundreds of thousands of pounds of electronics from the landfill. The monetary value of the materials to be refurbished, reused or recycled is estimated at more than $50,000. The money will be used for Goodwill job training programs and employment opportunities in Western North Carolina.

Bennett called it a “smashing success” and praised the partners involved. “The huge number of donors and the enormous effort in collecting and safely disposing of the e‑waste would not have been remotely possible without the commitment and support from our media partner WBTV and Goodwill industries.”

For Do Your Part, this is only the beginning. “It was a signature event for us,” Terri told me via email, “as we look to launch Electronic Waste Collection campaigns across the country, in markets where we have an online and on-air relationship with our content.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: “Do Your Part” is one of my clients.)

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