Employees at the Southwire Lafayette plant worked nonstop last Saturday servicing 202 cars during the plant’s first-ever electronics recycling (e-recycling) drive. Twelve Southwire volunteers collected donations from the consistent stream of vehicles before filling numerous boxes with recyclable goods. This event marked one of nine total collections the company plans to host across eight different communities in 2019.
Cars were lined up before the early start time of 8 a.m. to participate in the company’s sustainability effort. Southwire sponsored the recycling costs of the first 40 television sets that were received; these were collected during the first thirty minutes of the event start.
“I am shocked at the number of cars that showed up to recycle that early on a Saturday morning,” said Hannah Smith, environmental, health and safety specialist. “It was unbelievable to witness the community engagement we received during a first-time event of this nature.”
Lafayette Project GIFT volunteers partnered with Oscar Winski, a local metals recycling company, to host their first-ever electronics recycling event on May 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., where 202 cars dropped off e-waste to be recycled.
Currently, more than 100 million cell phones, 40 million computers and 20 million TVs are improperly disposed of annually in the United States alone. These products contain valuable materials that can be recycled, but they also contain materials that, when improperly disposed of, pose an environmental threat that can contaminate soil and groundwater.
Since 2007, Southwire’s Project GIFT®, in partnership with Keep Carroll Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, has collected more than one million pounds of electronic waste to be recycled. Based on the program’s decade-long success and Southwire’s continued commitment, the company launched e-recycling in Florence, Ala., and Bremen, Ind., in 2018. This year, Southwire is introducing e-recycling in five new locations, the second of which was Lafayette, Ind.
“Southwire gives back to our community in lots of ways, and we are very excited to add e-recycling to our sustainability efforts,” said Melissa Brothers, Lafayette’s Giving Back coordinator. “Making a difference in the environment supports our core goals as a company and we are proud to offer a recycling opportunity to our fellow citizens here in Lafayette, as well.”
The program’s expansion is a step toward achieving Southwire’s 2021 Giving Back sustainability target to launch environmental outreach programs in 100% of the communities in which we operate.
Still to come in 2019, Southwire’s Huntersville, N.C., Heflin, Ala., and Starkville, Miss., facilities will host their first-ever e-recycling collections, and the company’s Bremen, Ind., and Florence, Ala. will continue the tradition they began last year by hosting their second events. West Georgia will also host a second e-recycling collection in the fall.