Downtown Chapel Hill

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Downtown Hosts Electro Junk Dump

Orange County held its first special collection of electronics for business located in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro on Saturday, November 17, 2012 -- and collected over 200 pounds of computers, bulbs, and other recyclables and reusables.  Five local businesses including Bicycle Chain, Breadmans, Carrburitos, CD Alley and Fitch Lumber along with four area residents brought over two hundred pounds of batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, computers, peripherals, speakers and other recyclables and reusable goods including clothing to this special dropoff event. 

The “Electro Junk Dump’ was put on by Orange County Solid Waste Management Department in conjunction with the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership (, the PTA Thrift Shop (, Kramden Institute ( and the Compass Center for Women and Families (  Annette Stone, Carrboro Economic Development Director, also provided outreach to Carrboro businesses. 

The County Solid Waste Department conducted the collection to enable businesses to more easily recycle those electronics and related materials that they might not have time to take to the Orange County landfill dropoff area for recycling. The event was also structured to promote reuse of the usable items by involving local reuse organizations. “Reuse is actually much more effective and environmentally sound than recycling and higher up the hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, said Muriel Williman, Outreach and Education leader for the department .  

It was a boon to those businesses that did participate. Ryan Richardson, owner of CD Alley said as he walked over to the event’s West Rosemary Street parking lot location from his Franklin Street store carrying large bundles of burnt out eight foot fluorescent lamps and some batteries, “Thanks for helping me clean out my back room at last.”  “Properly recovering these old lamps, computers and other electronics keeps mercury, lead, cadmium and other heavy metals out of the environment. ”Recycling is often a more environmentally sound way of mining than digging all the materials out of the ground and refining them’, said Blair Pollock of the department.

 Nathan Guinn (L.)  and Blair Pollock of Orange County Solid Waste Management load a box full of burned out fluorescent lamps brought over by Ryan Richardson of CD Alley for recycling at the first-ever “Electro Junk Dump” event held November 17 in downtown Chapel Hill. 

Fluorescent lamps along with computers, including CPUs, laptops, monitors, printers, printer/fax/scan devices, mice and keyboards; and all televisions, including flat-panel televisions, projection televisions and televisions with picture tubes have been banned from landfills in North Carolina since July 2011. This collection event was conducted to assist businesses to easily comply with the laws and find out if there is a demand for the service among businesses in the County.  

Any business in Orange County may bring computers, peripherals, batteries and other electronics to the County Landfill for recycling at no charge during operating hours of 7am – 4pm Monday through Friday and 7:30am to noon Saturdays.  Donate usable computers to Kramden Instiute, cell phones to Compass Center and usable household goods and clothing to PTA or other local charities.

Meg McGurk director of the Downtown Partnership told the County’s Solid Waste Planner, Blair Pollock, “I appreciate how the County was willing to come to the downtown  to make it easier for businesses to access the service.  Anytime we can partner on public services like this is a benefit for all.”  

Barbara Jesse Black, executive director of the PTA Thrift Shop added, “Even though it wasn’t a huge haul it was a good event and we can grow it.  We can make a more continuous event.” 

Thanks also go to Larry Short, owner of the lot at 322 W. Rosemary Street for donating its use for the event and UNC Public Safety for providing convenient access to electricity.