CMU uses environmentally friendly way to recycle campus technology

Central Michigan University has found a way to get paid for replacing computers in an environmentally friendly way.

The answer comes in three parts, said Tom Rohrer, director of the Institute for Sustainability: reduce, reuse and recycle.

In order to reduce the amount of technology CMU has to discard, the university is reducing how much it needs to purchase, he said.

One of the primary examples of technological reduction is the campus printers.

“It used to be everybody in the faculty and staff had their own printer,” Rohrer said. “What we have done is network to a central printer.”

CMU also tries to use their old technology for as long as possible, he said, such as using the same computers for four to five years before upgrading.

“Everything goes through surplus,” Rohrer said. “We don’t throw anything away.”

To complete the reuse step, CMU sells old technology to the public at the CMU surplus sale, said director of public relations Steve Smith.

“CMU makes computers and other electronics available through the surplus sale so that those in the community can repurchase the products for reuse,” Smith said.

CMU recycles old electronics by selling them to companies that will refurbish them or break them down for metal parts.

“CMU has a deal with Waste Management called ‘Cash for Kits,’ where they agree to take small electronics off of our hands and pay a cash sum for it,” Smith said. “They also take items like floppy discs and compact discs to a store in Saginaw that purchases them back.”


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