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Waste Not, Want Not

In order to help pay summer coaching stipends and defray the costs of equipment, the Elsinore High School Football Booster Club and the school's players hold three yearly E-waste collection fundraisers that bring in a tidy sum of $5,400 annually.


By Marichel Diaz
President, Elsinore High School Football Booster Club
Elsinore High School
Wildomar, California


During one of our booster club meetings at the end of 2009, we were trying to find a way to make money because we were in the negative and our football team was going to have a banquet.


One of our parents mentioned working with a recycling company that might be able to help us fundraise by giving back a percentage of what they make. I did some research and found a company that, based on weight, would give us a certain amount back: Gold'n West Surplus, Inc., an E-Waste recycling company based in Corona, Calif., and in Lithonia, Ga. (www.goldenwest-surplus.com).


We've been working with them for two years and hold three E-waste collections a year, during the changes of the season: spring-cleaning, before school starts, and at the end of the Christmas/Holiday season. It's been very productive for us.


We basically collect anything with an extension cord. Gold'n West can recycle all working/non-working electronics that either run on a battery or plug into an electrical socket. This includes: computer monitors, computers, TV's, laptops, servers, mainframes, telephone equipment, PDAs, iPods, cell phones, printers, fax machines, calculators, copiers, VCR/DVD players, microwaves, lamp, vacuums, and typewriters. (They cannot recycle dishwashers, clothes washer/dryers, any/all type of light bulbs, air conditioning units, refrigerators and alkaline batteries.)


The items can be fully functioning or completely shattered. So if you have any type of electronic junk in your garage, we will take it.


We get paid by the pound. For PC's its 25 cents per pound. CRT's - Cathode Ray Tubes, which are TV's and monitors with glass tubes - it's 15 cents per pound. Mixed Breakage, materials not made up of mostly plastic: lamps, vacuums, microwaves, stereos, etc., is five cents per pound. And Plastic Breakage, materials made up majority of plastic: keyboards, printers, mice, speakers, VCR/DVD players, etc., is 3 cents per pound.


Overall, we make about $1,800 every time we have an E-waste collection fundraiser. So over the three yearly events it's around $5,400.


In addition, we've partnered with Goodwill Industries for fundraising. If we fill up a 2,800-foot truck of small items of clothes and other bagged items, we make $1,700 per truck. If we collect larger items like couches and sofas, we make $900 per truck. We tell our football players that if each of them brings seven bags of items we can fill a truck. So that's a goal we set with them.


We advertise in local community newspapers and since they know it's for our school they provide the ads free of charge. We also place free ads online at PennySaverUSA.com. What's really worked well for us is placing banners around the community, at stop signs and stop light areas.


In the beginning, we had the local businesses and people in the community drop off the items. But then we noticed a lot of people didn't come because they didn't have the trucks to transport the items. So now we offer pick-up. We split up the calls amongst our members and go get the stuff. We have the football players come with us to do collections when the items are too heavy.


Our donations come from all over the community, including local businesses. For example, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce, whose daughter goes to our high school, is the warehouse manager for a local Harrah's Casino Resort in Valley Center, Calif. All of the E-waste that Harrah's collects will be donated to us. We are also trying to establish relationships with businesses like engineering companies that might donate their E-waste to us.


One of the great things about working with the businesses is that we were able to get two large storage units donated to us at a local storage facility. We store items mostly throughout the year. All of the trucks we use are donated.


The money we collect goes toward coaches' stipends because our district can't afford to pay our football coaches for the summer practices. So we assist with that. We also assist with various game and practice equipment. Basically, wherever the school can't help out, we fill in the hole.



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