The EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge removed a huge amount of electronic waste and pharmaceuticals from eight states.
The goal of the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge was the collecting and recycling of one million pounds of electronics (e-Waste) plus the collection and proper disposal of one million pills.
These goals were exceeded many times over.
A few examples:
In Milwaukee: 32 tons of electronic waste and 3.5 tons of pharmaceuticals were turned in.
At the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin near Green Bay: Approx. 4 tons of e-waste was collected plus thousands of pounds of other trash cleaned from reservation
Tribal members turned in ver 23 pounds of medicines including 100 bottles of pills, more than 25 computers and dozens of related components like hard drives, printers, keyboards and speakers; televisions, radios, DVD players, 12 cell phones and over 100 small batteries.
In Traverse City: Over 28,750 pounds (over 12.5 tons) of computers and other e-waste was collected.
The electronic waste is recycled, and the pharmaceuticals are incinerated in state-of-the-art EPA -license facilities.
So why is this important?
The old and broken electronics – like computers, cell phones and TVs – contain heavy metals that can leach into the groundwater if dumped into landfills.
The unused pharmaceuticals can end up in your drinking water if they are flushed or poured down the drain.
Thats because most wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove chemicals from these pharmaceuticals including hormones, narcotics, seizure medication and many more – that end up back in your drinking water.
In an April 2008 press conference in Milwaukee – EPA and other officials explained why the Great Lakes Challenge and similar projects are important to protect the environment and your health.
Pharmaceutical chemicals are sent back out into the Great Lakes, rivers and other places were people recreate and are the intakes for drinking water.
Studies show that the chemicals are appearing in the nations drinking water in small amounts – the long term effects are not known – however they have been linked to mutations in fish and other wildlife.
Also – these medicines can be stolen, diverted or accidently ingested by children – if they languish in your medicine cabinet.
Around the country many e-waste and pharmaceutical take back programs have been developed by governments and local businesses.
Please check with your local officials to find out details for your area.
Because every day should be Earth Day.
This video on the projects connected to the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge was made possible by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago the EPA Great Lakes national Program Office also in Chicago in cooperation with the non-profit Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative in Marquette, MI.
The EHI involves American Indian tribes and “a coalition of churches synagogues and other faith traditions joining together to heal protect and defend the environment,” said EHI founder Rev Jon Magnuson of Marquette Michigan.
Im Greg Peterson and youre watching Earth Healing TV
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Dr. Susan E. Boehme
EPA Coastal Sediment Specialist
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
EPA Milwaukee Medicine Collection Photos/Video by Dr. Susan Boehme
EPA Milwaukee e-waste video by John Perrecone
EPA deputy regional administrator
EPA Region 5 Office in Chicago
City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works
DPW Recycling Manager
EPA Region 5 Office in Chicago, Illinois
EPA Region 5 Office in Chicago, Illinois
Bharat Mathur, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator
For more information on the electronics collection contact:
City of Milwaukee Dept of Public Works
Rick Meyers, Recycling Manager
Milwaukee Dept. Of Public Works:
Milwaukee DPW e-Waste event page:
City of Milwaukee e-Waste event flyer:
City of Milwaukee e-Waste advertisement
Medicine collection sponsor/contact:
Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District
260 West Seeboth St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Steve Jacquart, Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District
Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District:
Milorganite – How do we make this stuff?
Milwaukee pdf flyer – scroll down pdf to bottom to see mini-version:
Traverse City, Michigan
April 26, 2008
Sponsor/Contact: Grand Traverse County Resource Recovery
Kim Duane Elliott
Type of Event: e-Waste
Goodwill Industries, Sam’s Club and Grand Traverse County Resource Recovery held a free Computer Recycling Collection.
Tons of home and business computer equipment and peripherals were dropped of to a donation truck at Sam’s Club, 2401 US Hwy 31 S, Traverse City on Saturday, April 26, 2008.
Grand Traverse County Resource Recovery:
Recycle Smart Brochure-pdf:
Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative:
Milwaukee Earth Healing Initiative page:
Final EPA Flow of the River blog post:
Media News Wire:
Freedom Ring Blog – Milwaukee:
EPA #1 results press release:
EPA says challenge a big success: Goals met and exceeded
Interfaith graphics by Justice St. Rain (Baha’i Community) of Interfaith Resources – Special Ideas website:
Justice St. Rain
1-800-326-1197 (toll free)
P.O. Box 9
511 Diamond Rd
Project sites included locations in eight states:
Alton, Beecher, Bellwood, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Channahon, Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Glenview, Joliet, Lockport, Lombard, Mount Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Romeoville, Shorewood, Villa Park, West Chicago, Wheaton, Woodstock
Columbia City, Hammond, Knox, LaPorte, Fort Wayne, Rushville, Valparaiso
Bay City (two events), Benton Harbor, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Farmington Hills, Goodells, Grand Rapids (two events) Harbor Springs, Lansing, Midland, Monroe, Royal Oaks, Sault Ste. Marie, Southfield, Traverse City
Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Duluth, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Madison, Maple Grove, New Ulm, Saint Cloud, Shakopee, St. Louis Park, St. Paul
Brockport, Buffalo, Fredonia, Rochester (two events), Syracuse (two events).
Cleveland, Grove City, Kent, Perrysburg, Sandusky, Springfield, Toledo, Warren
Appleton, Brillion, Chilton, Crandon, Green Bay, Keshena (Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and College of Menominee Nation), Manitowoc, Milwaukee, New Holstein, Oshkosh, Plover (two events), Racine, Superior, Waupaca.
A special thanks to the residents of Milwaukee who proved they love their city, Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Also, we appreciate the support of the city of Milwaukee DPW and MMSD event partners without whom the collection would not have been possible:
E-scrap collection sponsors:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, city of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW), Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, the Italian Community Center, Midwest Computer Recyclers and WISN TV.
Medicine collection sponsors:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Milwaukee Police, Milwaukee Brewers, City of Milwaukee, Aurora Pharmacy, Columbia St. Mary’s, City of Racine, Racine Police Department, Burlington Police Department, Western Racine County Health Department, Caledonia/Mt. Pleasant Health Department, Ozaukee County Public Health Department, Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Village of Saukville, Washington County, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and City of West Bend Sewer Utility.