Ramsey County Calls on Residents to Attend 'Fix-It Clinics' to Reduce E-Waste

July 19, 2017 06:14 PM

On Wednesday, Brian Wolff of Spring Lake Park dropped off several electronic items at Tech Dump on Prior Avenue in St. Paul.

"I'm dropping off a couple of televisions," Wolff said. "I'm sure some of these things work, but I don't have time to figure that out. I just don't want them to end up in the landfill. I'm properly disposing them."


According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, more than 36.2 million tons of electronic waste was collected in 2016. That's up from 30 million tons collected in 2008. 

Now, Ramsey County is taking a new approach to the throw-it-away mentality by creating "Fix-It Clinics" to reduce the number of repairable objects that are often thrown in the trash.

Therese Bordeau is a "Fix-It Clinic" program coordinator. She said that at the free fix-it clinics, residents often bring in electronics, household appliances, clothing, tools and mobile devices.

"It's not just a repair service, but we are also educating on how you can (fix) it," Bordeau said. "Since 2017 alone we have fixed about 2300 pounds of items."
Howard Freeman is a tech volunteer who offers free guided assistance at the clinic. He uses repair skills to troubleshoot, disassemble and fix items.

"There's really three steps to the repair process," Freeman said. "The number one thing that probably takes up a third of our time is how do we get it open. You would be surprised how simple some of the items are to fix and we save them for going in the trash."

The next "Fix-It Clinic" in Ramsey County will be held Saturday, July 22, at Arc's Value Village Thrift Store in St. Paul.

Back at Tech Dump, Darin Anderson, a recycling manager, says his team is also working hand-in-hand with Ramsey County to keep e-waste out of the landfill.

"A lot of it is fixable and we actually have an entire facility to test and resell," Anderson said. "The main thing is to keep these items out of a landfill and help the environment. Everyone is going green."


Cleo Greene

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