August 8, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 185

Ontonagon recycling program offers update

To the Editor:

As of August 2013, there are 16,988 school groups recycling ink and laser jet cartridges and cellphones through the Funding Factory program. WOAS-FM joined this program to recycle items on behalf of the Ontonagon Area Schools in 1998. Currently, WOAS-FM ranks 308th on this list in terms of the number of qualifying units recycled. Math wizards out there will note that this places our collection program in the top 1.8 percent in the United States despite our small, rural population base.

The Funding Factory tally breaks down our shipments as follows: 44 cellphones, 4,832 inkjet cartridges and 1,599 laser jet cartridges. Further analysis shows that these collectables contained 2.02 pounds of plastic, 124 pounds of nylon, 1,306 pounds of steel, 196 pounds of aluminum, and 8.6 pounds of copper. By weight, 2,949 pounds of these materials were used to remanufacture products and 1,109 pounds were recycled.

Scientifically speaking, the metric ton dioxide equivalent, or MtCO2e, of the remanufactured and recycled items is 33.44 MtCO2e and 12.06 MtCO2e. If these numbers are not familiar to readers, their environmental impact equivalents can be compared to

— Offsetting the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 9 passenger vehicles.

— Offsetting CO2 emissions from the consumption of 4,975 gallons of gasoline.

— Offsetting CO2 emission from one tanker truck worth of gasoline.

— Counterbalancing CO2 emissions from the consumption of 103 barrels of oil.

— Counterbalancing CO2 emissions from the annual electricity use of six homes.

— Staving off global warming via the intake and storage of carbon of 1,138 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

— Staving off global warming via the annual carbon intake and storage of nine acres of pine or fir forests.

— Counterbalancing the CO2 emissions from 1,849 propane cylinders used for home barbecues.

Even though WOAS-FM is on summer hiatus, we still pick up recyclables from our collection points. If you have questions or items for us to pick up, please contact us at ken@oasd.k12.mi.us or the Ontonagon Area Schools office. Call the old number, 906-884-4433 or the new one, 906-813-0614, when the switch is made.

It just goes to show that a small group of committed people can and do make a difference. We appreciate your continued support of this planet saving venture. The frosting on the cake comes from the technology items we are able to purchase for the school district from this source.

Ken Raisanen

Ontonagon