This month, we focus on a local non-profit Web Innovations and Technology Services ("WITS") who is the largest non-profit electronics recycler in Missouri. Under Missouri law, electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, cell phones, cordless telephones, and monitors are classified as "hazardous waste" and must be collected and disposed by regulated collection sites because electronic equipment often contains heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and even PCBs. Although there are a number of commercial electronics recyclers in the St. Louis area, there is only one with a strong track record of re-use and recycling.
Here are some of WITS' achievements:
- In 2009, WITS refurbished and reused over 3,500 computers and other electronics. Since 2004, WITS has refurbished and reused over 20,000 computers and electronics. These refurbished computers and electronics have been sold or given away to residents in local communities.
- Over 8,000 volunteers and residents have helped promote or support WITS or donated to WITS programs.
- In 2009, WITS diverted over 6.5 million lbs of electronic components from landfills and waste streams by refurbishing electronics, by disassembling electronics, and by re-manufacturing products for other uses. Since, 2004, WITS has diverted over 20.5 million lbs. of electronic components from landfills and waste streams.
- 65% of electronic items donated to WITS are reused. 35% of electronic items donated to WITS are demanufactured and sold for new product uses.
- WITS has created over 365 new jobs since its inception.
- 1,250 low-income families have volunteered at WITS events to earn a computer, TV or other working electronic item.
Here are some of the ways that St. Louis real estate professionals can benefit from WITS' recycling programs:
- Electronic Disposal: Dispose of old, used and inoperable electronic equipment in a safe, environmentally friendly manner. Other commercial recyclers charge disposal fees. WITS does not charge for the disposal of most electronic items delivered to the WITS' facility or delivered to a WITS' collection site.
- Tax Donation: Receive a charitable donation letter summarizing the fair market value of the donated item for use as a charitable tax donation
- Onsite Electronics Pick-Up: If you require pick-up service, WITS charges $50-$100 per box truck for all business pickups, $30-75 for residential pick-up with a 1 hour drive.
- Purchase Refurbished Electronic and Other Items: Purchase refurbished computers (from $60), laptops (from $100), and LCD Monitors (from $25). Other items including televisions, radios, stereos, fans, heaters, lawn equipment, etc. are available starting at $5.
- Home CleanOut: If you work with seniors or sell home in probate estate, WITS offers a low flat fee ($100) pick-up service of all household items. WITS then repackages and delivers such non-electronic items as clothing, household furniture, etc. to other non-profits.
Other WITS's programs:
- Volunteer for Computer Program: Volunteers who agree to work at WITS' facility or WITS' events for 65 hours receive a free computer or other electronic item. Senior, veteran and disabled volunteers can work from home placing telephone calls and earn a free computer after 45 hours of volunteer time.
- Student Program: Eligible low income students accepted to college and maintain a B+ average receive a free computer.
- Kids with Kancer Program: Chronically ill children age 8 to 18 suffering from cancer and hospitalized or receiving full-time home care are eligible to receive a free laptop.
- Seniors Program: WITS receives applications from seniors and donates 1 computer system per month to seniors in need of a computer.
- Computer Exchange: Non-profit organizations, schools and churches can exchange used, old and inoperable computers for new computers.
- Revenue Sharing: Non-profit organizations, schools and churches can act as event organizers or collection sites and receive a percentage of the income generated from the recycling of electronic items.
If you are interested in learning more about WITS, visit their facility at 647 E Holly Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63147 (2 blocks from N. Grand and Hwy 70), their website at www.witsinc.org, or their upcoming recycling event in Belleville, Illinois on August 8 or Chesterfield, Missouri on August 28.