Posted Apr. 11, 2015 at 1:08 PM
With the arrival of spring comes the spirit of renewal. Part and parcel of that spirit is the concept of recycling. The national corporation Advanced Technology Recycling is ringing in the spring with its One Million Pound Challenge, a weeklong event comprising Earth Day, in which it is hoped to divert the eponymous million pounds of electronic waste from landfills.
The company also has another ambition tied to their efforts — to become Guinness world record holders of most processed pounds of electronics within the week span.
With its inception as a small electronics boutique in Pontiac, ATR has expanded exponentially, with sites in Birmingham, Ala., Buffalo, N.Y., Grand Rapids, Mich. and San Antonio, Tex., having been built with the last decade. This sense of manifest destiny has made the challenge dream a reality.
“The main thing about our One Million Pound Challenge is to bring out Awareness for Earth Day,” ATR Business Development Manager Ray Magee said. “We included Earth Day and made it a whole week event, where we contact and get corporate sponsors to help us collect this equipment.
“They do employee e-waste drivers, community e-waste drives, along with internal IT equipment. We go around, all week long, from our five different locations and pick up equipment, then bring it into our facilities and we count those pounds, with a million being our goal.”
Some of the sponsors include major names, such as OSF Healthcare, Goodwill and Caterpillar. But there are townships, municipalities and other communities taking part as well, such as Peoria, Dwight and Roanoke.
With so many entities on board, Magee feels that his company has a serious chance of challenging the Guinness record.
“This year is a little bit different because we recently found out that there was a Guinness world record,” he said. “A company in Australia has about 1,045,000 record. We’re going to try and break that record.
“I’ve been in communication with a judge of Guinness, getting his expectations and needs … We’re going to have independent witnesses at our facilities documenting all the pounds that we collect, and then the main judge from Guinness will be here Saturday (April 25) to collect all the information and see if we passed the record.”
Regardless of whether a record is broken or not, however, Magee feels that the challenge is important enough on its own to warrant the attention he hopes the company receives, and that a public interest in properly disposing of e-waste is truly sparked.
“The big thing is for community awareness,” he said. “We want to remind people that our environment is a very sensitive and cherished thing. With all of the legislation in 27 states, especially here in Illinois, we need to make people aware that electronic waste is harmful.
“It’s bad for our environment, it can do damage to our drinking water, and different types of illnesses can come from improper disposal of electronics.
“So we try to get the message out of a another way to take care of our environment by properly disposing of electronics.”
The One Million Pound challenge is set to begin 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, and will run until the final whistle blows at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.