West Michigan Church Keeps Hazardous Waste Out of Landfills

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First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Mich., collected 37,234 pounds (16,889 kilograms) of old cell phones, computers, radios, and other electronics during a recent e-recycling event.

Free to the public and local businesses, the effort kept hazardous electronic waste from being thrown into landfills.

Because safe recycling of electronics requires special handling, First CRC partnered with CompRenew, a nonprofit, licensed company owned by Worldwide Christian Schools. CompRenew does all its own recycling on-site, rather than shipping electronics overseas.

 That was a huge factor for First CRC in deciding to host the event. “We wanted to make sure that the electronics we collected were recycled in an environmentally friendly manner and not in a manner that caused detriment to people on the other side of the world,” said Joan Groenhout, who coordinated the event.

This was the church’s third electronics recycling event since 2010, and it also worked in conjunction with their on-going metal recycling ministry. In addition to the electronics, 15,257 pounds (6.920 kg) of metal were also collected.

First CRC’s metal recycling first started as a fundraiser to replace the church boiler a few years ago. Today it continues to raise support for the church, as volunteers pick up metal items like old antennas, metal poles, and bedsprings throughout the community one evening each week.

First CRC has collected a half-million pounds (nearly 227,000 kg) of metal to recycle since beginning that program three years ago.

“I think the biggest comment we receive when we do our recycle events is ‘Thank you for doing something good in the community,’” said Groenhout. “And we are amazed that when it comes to recycling electronics and metal, it just does not stop. The need is great for recycling, and  people are more than willing to recycle if there is an easy way to do it.”

About the Author

Daina Kraai is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Muskegon and Northern Michigan.

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