Several Perry County Central High School students are spending time helping the county recycle. Students in teacher Ralph Combs’ agriculture class were helping out at the Perry County Garage this week by packing and moving hundreds of electronics set to be recycled.
As students of agriculture, Combs’s class understands the importance of keeping the water and soil clean, and electronics can be some of the worst offenders in poisoning the environment. The Perry County Soil Conservation District opened a new electronics recycling building just a few weeks ago, and they have already had hundreds of electronics dropped off.
Combs and his class have volunteered several times at the garage, although the last time they came the building had not been completed.
“We helped with this before there was a building, and it has helped quite a bit to have their own building,” said Combs.
Officials hope the recycling center will help control the amount of toxins leaching from these electronics into the soil and water in Perry County. Combs said that older model computers and TVs often times have lead and mercury in them that can be difficult to filter.
“The minute particles of that will still get through, and the best you can filter it still can’t get it out. It is always going to be in there,” said Combs.
According to Combs, it only takes around 20 years for the plastic casings around a TV or computer to break down. At that point they become dangerous by creating sharp broken pieces containing chemicals. These can then be washed into water ways or even be stepped on by anyone walking through the area.
One student, senior Steven Cody Hollon, said that he has helped out at the center several times and is happy to help keep these chemicals out of the area.
“Back in the day, they didn’t make computers like they do now,” said Hollon. “I have done this twice so far, and both times it has been really good. It also helps the environment, and I would rather them bring them here than throw it in the creek.”
The students helped box and level off the items into heavy cardboard boxes sitting on pallets. These boxes are then stacked and arranged within the building until they are picked up and taken to a place where they can be recycled.
The Perry County students helped on Thursday and Friday getting the electronics organized, although electronics can be brought to the center year round.
“We are taking anything from the county, anyone that has anything to recycle,” said Combs. “A lot of these folks and their businesses with computers need to get them to us, and they will go to be recycled instead of landed out on a hill side or dumped out on the edge of a road somewhere.”
Ever since the county began offering electronics recycling, they have been able to keep thousands of computers and TVs from being thrown into landfills or left as litter. Hollon said in the few times he has been there to volunteer he has seen the massive amount of difference the center has made.
“Just so far we have been here about 45 minutes, we have moved about 80,” said Hollon. “Over the last two or three times I would say over a 1,000. I don’t care to do the work as long as it stays out of our water ways, out of the woods.”
To find out more information about the project you can contact the soil conservation district at 606-435-1725. The district office is located in the old courthouse building. The recycling center is located at the Perry County Garage in Christopher.