Waste collection at Brewer Science collects 29.91 tons of recyclable material from 330 vehicles within the Ozark Rivers seven-county region.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission, with funding from the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) and volunteer support from Brewer Science and the city of Rolla, gathered 29.91 tons of residential scrap electronics, appliances and tires at the 15th annual special collection held June 13 at Brewer Science in Rolla. Approximately 330 vehicles from within the Ozark Rivers seven-county region – Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington – dropped off

Brady Wilson, chairman of the ORSWMD, says these special collections are valued not only as a convenience to local residents, but also as a way to reduce the environmental impact by keeping potentially toxic electronic waste out of landfills.  

“I believe the special collections are important to the residents of the communities within our region because it offers them an affordable option for properly disposing of, and recycling the items we tend to refer to as “orphan wastes” or those items that are difficult to find a home for,” Wilson said. “Whole tires and appliances are banned from landfills. In addition, these collection events help to gather these items which otherwise can often end up in county ditches and streams, thereby desecrating the local landscape and the environment.” 

Tires were the most collected item with a total of 477 tires, amounting to 6.82 tons being diverted from landfills. The most frequently recycled electronic appliance item was televisions with 216 being collected. Other items included water heaters, computer monitors, washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers and various cord or battery operated smaller electronic devices. 

“Brewer Science has done an outstanding job of partnering on recycling events,” Jill Hollowell, Meramec Regional Planning Commission environmental specialist said. “This was an amazing outcome and there was great evidence that folks were willing to take the time and come out even if they had just one item. We also had increased participation from other counties in the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District. The culture is certainly shifting towards better stewardship of household goods!” 

Approximately 17 volunteers from Brewer Science and the city of Rolla assisted with the collection by unloading the recyclables. 

“The assistance from the city of Rolla, Brewer Science and its employees make this collection possible,” said Bonnie Prigge, Meramec Regional Planning Commission executive director. “Brewer Science provides its campus and staff volunteers, which is critical because of the size of this collection. It is certainly a team effort, and we appreciate the assistance Brewer Science and the city of Rolla have provided over the years.”

Appliances and e-waste are handled by Midwest Recycling Center, a certified collection contractor, who distributes the collected items to either be refurbished or broken down to recycle rare earth element components. The last resort is responsible destruction and that assures contaminants in electronics, such as mercury, lead and arsenic, never pollute the air or water.

The collection held in 2019, hosted by Brewer Science collected 25.76 tons of electronics, appliances and tires.  

The next Ozark Rivers collections are Oct. 10 at the St. Robert Community Center, 114 J.H. Williamson Drive, St. Robert and Oct. 3 at the Maries County Road District #1 Building at 11055 Highway 133, Meta, Mo. Participants are asked to stay in their vehicles and volunteers will unload their items. There will be fees for tires, TVs, computer monitors and appliances with freon. Tires must have the rims removed.