Now that UST has moved to leasing rather than purchasing computer equipment, the recycling stream of old computers and monitors has decreased steadily. Nonetheless, UST still has recycled 26,811 pounds or almost 13 and a half tons of electronics since the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, 2000.

Much of this weight was sent to area processors to have the components broken down into recyclable commodities with all harmful metals and materials removed. Modern electronic computer equipment is made of more than 1,000 different materials, including lead and cadmium in computer circuit boards, lead oxide and barium in computer monitors’ cathode-ray tubes, mercury in switches and flat screens, and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, cables and plastic casing, photo-active and biologically active materials and acids. Society doesn’t want most of these chemicals in its landfills and especially its water supply, so UST pays expensive processing fees to have them removed.

Whenever possible, the Recycling Team pulls out reusable components to benefit local nonprofits and to save the university these processing costs. So far this fiscal year, the Recycling Team has given away 263 computers, 296 monitors and 52 printers.

These electronics have gone to a variety of schools, churches and nonprofits, including (alphabetically):

Bethel Assembly, Fosston
Bethel Christian Fellowship, St. Paul
Breckenridge Valley Assembly
Catholic Digest
Center for Asian Pacific Islanders
Children’s Center, Montessori School
Christ the King-St. Thomas the Apostle School
Christian Fellowship Union
Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle
Duluth Gospel Tabernacle
Ekklesia Fellowship
Estherville Community School
Family Academy Charter School
First Presbyterian Church, South St. Paul
Fosston Baptist Church
Global Radio Outreach
Highland Catholic School
Hope Christian Church
Johnson High School, St. Paul
Marquette Gospel Tabernacle
Mary Mother of God Church (Vladivostock, Russia)
Maternity of Mary-St. Andrew’s School
Maxfield Elementary School
NET Ministries
Salvation Army Silver Lake Camp
Sand Hill Lake Bible Camp
Sisters of Mary, Ladysmith
St. Charles Borromeo School
St. Elizabeth Seton School
St. John’s School in Jordan
St. Katherine’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church
St. Mark’s School
St. Matthew’s School
St. Paul High School for the Recording Arts
St. Paul Outreach
St. Raphael’s School
St. Vincent de Paul School
Starland Charter Schools
Teens Alone
Trinity Bible Church
University of Minnesota at Crookston
Walker Family Center

There are several area schools whose entire computing labs have been furnished by UST’s unwanted electronics. The university is happy to help these local students (and potential Tommies) with this valuable resource.

While the university cannot accept computer systems from private individuals because of the high cost of reprocessing, it does encourage everyone to give away any useable old equipment to area schools, churches, libraries and nonprofits. Don’t leave it in the closet, because it very soon loses any possible value to these nonprofits. And as a bonus, you receive a tax benefit for your charitable contribution.

If you have any questions about St. Thomas’ electronics recycling or know of a nonprofit in need of older but usable computer components, please contact Bob Douglas, UST recycling coordinator, at (651) 962-6388.


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