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Drive collects old electronics

Taking advantage of a beautiful late-winter day, members of Suffolk’s Clean Community Commission spent several hours on Saturday in the N. Main Street Walmart parking lot.

The commissioners were joined by representatives from Creative Recycling Systems of Durham, N.C., and scattered around the area where they worked were pallets with boxes full of old televisions, computers, printers, monitors, copiers and even adding machines.

The event was a recycling drive for cast-aside electronics, hosted by the commission and sponsored by the city of Suffolk. Creative Recycling was on hand to collect the items and haul them back to a company facility, where they will be sorted, shredded and sent for recycling.

The idea, commission member Kathy Russell said as she motioned toward a box that contained an old copy machine, is to “keep it out of the landfill.”

“This should be about stewardship,” she said. “Suffolk needs to get in the mindset of recycling. It has never been a high priority, because we’ve never had to pay anything for [dumping trash at] the landfill.”

With the pending dissolution of the Southeastern Public Service Authority in 2018, however, that situation could change, she said, and city officials and residents need to prepare themselves for the end of free garbage disposal.

As they drove up with their trunks and backseats loaded with old computer monitors and components, however, the incentive for recycling their old electronics seemed much simpler for some participants.

“It’s so old I’m embarrassed,” Crittenden resident Leslie Peterfeso said as she waited for a worker to help unload an old HP monitor and tower computer from her trunk. “This is just the right influence to get rid of it.”

As they drove past and saw the activity around the truck, a number of people pulled into the lot and asked what was happening. Learning of the collection effort, several said they would head home and pick up components to bring back for recycling.

Hattie Lester, Suffolk’s litter control coordinator, said the city plans another recycling drive — this one focusing on household hazardous waste and tires — in August.

The August drive will be held in the northern part of the city, she said. “We try to take turns between here and there.”