TechBirmingham Ecycling Day a Huge Success

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More than 17,000 e-waste items collected and approximately 76 tons of electronics waste diverted from Alabama's landfills in Birmingham region's first coordinated electronics recycling effort

Two Girl Scout troops from Helena took time off last week from selling their cookies to help save the earth. They joined more than 200 volunteers including members of Birmingham’s technology community and several dozen college students to help collect old electronic equipment for TechBirmingham Ecycling Day on April 22. These girls and their troop leaders staffed one of the 15 collection sites across the Birmingham, Alabama region. Many of the volunteers gathered at the McWane Center on Wednesday night for a thank you reception to hear the preliminary collection numbers of computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, and cell phones.

The numbers announced included:

· Computers = 3548

· Monitors = 4124

· Laptops = 41

· Keyboards = 2581

· Printers/Faxes = 2039

· Cell phones = 564

· Over 5000 miscellaneous items, weighing in excess of 10,000 lbs.

These numbers represent the preliminary count of items received from the general public at the collection day on April 22 and the generous response from the corporate community. The institutional donations began earlier in the month.

“We were excited to see such a fantastic turnout from the community on Earth Day. The volunteers were the backbone of the successful event and worked tirelessly unloading every type of electronic device imaginable,” said Curtis Palmer, president of TechBirmingham. “The more than 17,000 items we received represent approximately seventy-six tons of electronic equipment that have been diverted from Alabama’s landfills.”

While most of the items received will be recycled and demanufactured, many can be refurbished. Over 20 grant applications were received from non-profits, schools, and churches seeking access to the reusable computers donated for TechBirmingham Ecycling Day. Each recipient organization will refurbish their allocated computers with software donated by Microsoft.

On Wednesday night, TechBirmingham also announced the first two allocations of items collected.

The first 20 usable laptops collected have been awarded to Vulcan Park Foundation. These laptops, along with wireless Internet capability, will allow Vulcan Park the flexibility to integrate Internet use in existing children’s workshops, create new educational opportunities designed specifically for learning about how wireless Internet works and offer the community access to a valuable resource. Vulcan Park is looking forward to providing wireless Internet access by becoming a “hot spot” in the near future. Through their collaborations and educational efforts, Vulcan Park Foundation will begin to bridge the digital divide in the Birmingham region.

In addition, the first 30 desktop systems collected have been awarded to the BatterUp initiative. BatterUp is a research-based, Integrated Learning System (ILS) designed to reinforce 1st through 8th grade students’ basic math skills. Started several years ago as a local event, this initiative has grown into a regional competition. The first Southeastern Regional Tournament for BatterUp will be held at the McWane Center in downtown Birmingham, Alabama on May 6, 2005 and will feature student teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. In addition to competing in the math competition, six schools with the largest number of participants will be awarded the computers donated from the TechBirmingham Ecycling Day to use in their own classrooms. Virginia College has been engaged to refurbish the donated computers prior to installation at the McWane Center. More details about the BatterUp software program and competition may be found on http://www.CompuSage.com.

Strategic partners for the TechBirmingham Ecycling Day event included:

· Alabama Computer Disposal Group / computer recycler

· Coca-Cola / refreshment for volunteer workforce

· Computer Help for Kids / refurbishment experts and program management

· Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4 / advisor

· Handoff Wireless / cell phone recycler

· City of Hoover / logistics and consolidation warehouse

· Microsoft / software for refurbished computers

· PODS / logistics and storage units

· Printer Connection / printer recycler

· Streamline Communications, a Verizon retailer / communications sponsor

· SunGard / website and program management

· FOX6 WBRC / presenting media partner

For more information about TechBirmingham Ecycling Day, see http://www.EcyclingDay.com. For more information about TechBirmingham and its other activities, see http://www.TechBirmingham.com.

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Curtis Palmer
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