Disposing of electronics for environmental protection


On the last day of Climate Action Week, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services teamed up with juniors from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) for Electronics Disposal Day, outside the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center. 

Barbara Bellissimo, vice president of development, marketing, and communications at Community Services, told The Times this event happens twice a year, and many people look forward to it. 

“We started at 9 [Saturday] morning, and we had 25 people waiting at 8:30, so people are very excited for this event,” Bellissimo said. In total, 226 cars showed up with electronics to dispose of on Saturday. 

All types of electronics were accepted for disposal, from cell phones to refrigerators. Bellissimo said 10 to 15 tons of electronics were disposed of during the event. Community Services partnered with Bruno’s as the company to recycle or dispose of the electronics in “an environmentally safe way.” Bellissimo said this was particularly important for electronics that have Freon, a chemical cooling agent that is often found in refrigerators and air conditioners. Electronics were put into separate bins based on whether or not they had Freon in them. 

Batteries were not accepted during the disposal event. 

“It’s just incredibly expensive for us to process through them, so it’s easier for people to just find their own hazardous waste disposal or things like that,” Bellissimo said. 

The fees people paid to dispose of their electronics added up to $22,000, according to Bellissimo. The proceeds were split 50-50 between Community Services and the MVRHS student government, which will be using the money to help fund the junior prom. 

Being able to volunteer and help the environment was also a factor in why students chose to work during the event. “It’s good for the environment, and it’s good to get rid of all of this stuff so it doesn’t go somewhere bad,” MVRHS junior Sam Gurney said.

“It’s nice to be able to take in all of these electronics. We have a whole dumpster full of, like, 50 TVs,” MVRHS junior Christian Flanders said.

Serving the community was also a bonus for Christian. “It’s just nice for community service hours, too. We get a little bit back,” he said.