- Matthew Thorsen
What to do with that clunker of a computer gathering cobwebs in the garage? Or the purple plastic boombox that went out of style in the Reagan era? Small Dog Electronics provided the answer to those questions and many more, giving individuals and businesses the opportunity to unload their old electronics for free.
A seemingly endless stream of cars flowed into the parking lot last Saturday, waiting for up to an hour to reach the staging area. Dozens of volunteers, wearing green shirts and shades, hauled the e-booty from trunks as music pumped in the background. Some hurled the computers, televisions, and stereo systems into an electronic mountain. Others loaded up trucks that shuttled items to Good Point Recycling in Middlebury. Precious metals in electronics can be melted down and reused, while toxins such as lead and mercury need to be properly disposed of so they don't contaminate the environment.
Julie Robichaux came from Montpelier with scanners, TVs and "computers by the bale." She'd long since upgraded, but hadn't known what to do with her obsolete equipment. "I'm happy to have the opportunity to do this for free," Robichaux said.
Small Dog usually collects ewaste for 25 cents a pound but was able to offer the service gratis because of sponsors such as Ben & Jerry's and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Small Dog's goal is to take more electronics out of the community for recycling than they sell, said Geoff Blanck, VP of sales and marketing. Last year the company recycled 50 tons - yes, tons - of ewaste. This year, officials predicted double that amount.
As 1 p.m. - the official end of the event - approached, a line of cars was still snaking around the parking lot. Volunteers continued to sling electronics with gusto.
In five to 10 years, events like these will be more commonplace, predicted Small Dog Marketing Manager Edward Shepard. And the mounds of bulky electronics will be replaced with smaller piles of sleek laptops and flat screens. Easier to lift, perhaps, but not nearly as much fun to throw.