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Nov 9, 2017 12:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town's 'Close The Loop' Program Is Paying Dividends

Southampton Town Employee Colleen Tuohy-Jones puts her old toner cartridge in the recycling box located at Southampton Town Hall. VALERIE GORDON
Nov 12, 2017 3:55 PM

Residents looking to safely dispose of their bulk electronic waste—namely, old computer components like drums, and expired toner cartridges—have been taking advantage of Southampton Town's “Close the Loop” program, according to figures supplied by the town.

In the first 10 months of 2017, town residents have brought in more than 376 pounds of the electronic waste for recycling to the town’s three designated drop-off locations: the Hampton Bays Senior Center, the North Sea Transfer Station and Town Hall in Southampton Village.

Last year, the town collected 379.39 pounds total for the calendar year, or more than double that was brought in during the first year of the program, 2015, when 160.34 pounds total was collected and recycled, according to Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera.

Started in the town in 2015, the Close the Loop program was designed to reduce the stream of electronic waste entering landfills. The old computer components are then recycled and re-purposed; the plastics can be made into things like pens and rulers, while the metals are typically used to create park benches and fences, according to the “Close the Loop” website, www.closetheloopworldwide.com.

Prior to the program’s institution two years ago, residents could properly dispose of their old computer parts only four times a year, during the town’s quarterly Stop Throwing Out Pollutants Days held at its four transfer stations. The most recent one was held last month at the Hampton Bays Transfer Station and participants dropped off an estimated 15,000 pounds of assorted hazardous wastes, from used engine oil to old paints, according to John Tekin, an environmental scientist with Radiac Environmental Services, a radioactive waste processing company in Brooklyn.

The old computer parts recycling program, meanwhile, is a collaborative effort between Toshiba and Close the Loop Inc., a recycling company in Kentucky, and intended to reduce the estimated 9.4 million tons of electronic waste that enters the nation’s landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of that 9.4 million, only 12.5 percent is recycled, according to the same federal agency.

“I wanted to provide residents and businesses with an easy and efficient way to dispose of their old toner cartridges year-round,” Ms. Scalera said during a recent interview. She added that she would eventually like to expand the program to include drop-off locations in Westhampton and Speonk, thought she did not offer exact locations.

Tom Walter, the vice president of distribution and aftermarket sales for Toshiba, said the initiative, which was started in 2008, has resulted in the recycling of roughly 712 tons of electronic waste across the country.

“We’re doing something positive for the environment and that’s a good thing,” Ms. Scalera said.

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