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‘Not throwing them in the garbage:’ Milwaukee VA hosts free electronics recycling event

Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

MILWAUKEE -- The third annual Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center was held Tuesday, April 24. The event is not only environmentally friendly, but also has a lesser-known benefit.

Items collected included televisions, cellphones, computers, monitors, printers and stereos. Appliances and large batteries were not accepted.

"A lot of the old console TVs we've seen and VCRs, you know, the kind that don't work anymore, some people say they've had stuff in their basement for years," said Casey Schimek, program manager.

Schimek said the collection saves electronic items from the landfill.

Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

"And that would be really, really unfortunate because electronics have a lot of precious metals and it can seep into the groundwater," said Schimek.

In 2017, the Milwaukee VA collected more than 150,000 pounds of electronics  -- and organizers said they expect just as much if not more in 2018.

It's a "donation" because old tube TVs, monitors and keyboards still have value.

"They go to a facility called UNICOR, so that is part of the federal prison industry, and they have basically an occupation training program where they take apart the electronics themselves," said Schimek.

Free Recycling Day at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

The useful parts are then made into new products.

"So you're not throwing them in the garbage," said Schimek.