New and Green on Campus: Techno Trash Drop Boxes and Hydration Stations

Electronic equipment and water generally don’t mix. Unless they’re elements in Queens College’s Being Green initiative.

Cell phones and other electronic devices contain toxic elements such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. Consequently, they should never be discarded with regular trash bound for landfills, where over time these elements can leach into soil and groundwater. Thanks to the recent installation by Buildings and Grounds of new techno trash drop boxes, the campus has a free, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of these items, which will be re-used or recycled into other products.

“With the introduction of the techno trash bins,” says Sidney Grimes (Administrator for Plant Operations and Construction) “we’re finding not only is the campus becoming cleaner, but we’re educating the community that these items don’t have to be discarded, they can be recycled. Additionally, some of these items can be re-conditioned and reused by third world countries that need them.”

Techno trash bins can be found near the Bits & Bytes Café at the third floor entrance to Rosenthal Library, and there are plans to install more on the east side of campus. In addition to cell phones, the bins accept batteries, ink cartridges, cassettes, computer software, videotapes, video games, CDs, DVDs, and their cases. The college is looking for a company that will pay for techno trash so it can see the same sort of return it enjoys for recycling metal.

Drinking water is essential to our health. Yet, disposing of the plastic bottles we often drink it from threatens the health of the environment, notes Grimes, citing a 2008 study that found that only 31 percent of plastic water bottles were being recycled. With the introduction on campus of touch-free hydration stations, plastic water bottles and other receptacles such as re-usable stainless steel bottles can easily be refilled with cool, filtered water. “We see this as a way for students to stay hydrated while reducing bottled water consumption on campus,” says Grimes, who estimates that 40,000 fewer plastic bottles were used since the introduction six months ago of the first hydration station.

Hydration stations can be found on the third floor of FitzGerald Gym and near the men’s locker room as well as in the Student Union near the first floor restrooms. New stations are planned for Kiely Hall, the library, and Jefferson Hall, with the ultimate goal of replacing all campus water fountains with hydration stations in the next decade.

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Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services