US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

MRC recycling begins processing thousands of electronic goods collected from Joplin, MO., Tornado Debris


Joplin, Mo. -- MRC Recycling, headquartered in Crystal City, Mo., has begun the process of transporting and demanufacturing thousands of items of electronic goods collected by EPA Region 7 and its contractors, as part of one of the Agency’s assigned missions in response to the Joplin, Mo., tornado.

The first five truckloads of damaged and discarded electronics – items such as television sets, vacuum cleaners, computer equipment and small appliances – were shipped last week from EPA’s staging area in Joplin to MRC’s demanufacturing facility in Park Hills, Mo. There, the company will break down items into components and materials such as plastic, steel, aluminum, lead and copper, for eventual recycling into a variety of new consumer products.

MRC, a Missouri state-certified electronics recycler with additional facilities in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, was selected to transport and recycle the electronic goods that EPA and another contractor receive at a drop-off site in Joplin or collect at curbside from the city’s tornado-damaged areas.

The work is one part of EPA’s tornado response mission assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to collect and remove household hazardous waste, electronic goods (“e-goods”), and white goods (large appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washers and dryers) from Joplin’s damaged neighborhoods.

EPA will soon select a contractor to handle the transportation and recycling of collected white goods, which EPA is temporarily storing at its Joplin staging area. EPA has a separate contract with another firm to handle the safe transport, proper treatment and disposal of household hazardous waste, which generally cannot be recycled.

“One of our goals as we carry out this mission is to recycle as much of this material as possible,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “Recycling is better for the environment, and it allows EPA to minimize the costs associated with collecting and transporting this material.”

As of June 18, EPA and its contractors had collected or received a total of 43,411 items from Joplin’s tornado debris, including 28,179 items of household hazardous waste, 12,229 pieces of electronics equipment, and 2,048 white goods, as well as 569 propane tanks or cylinders of compressed gases, 181 batteries, and 205 small engines (such as lawn mowers). Updates to EPA’s material collection totals are posted online.

EPA Region 7 will continue to collect household hazardous waste, electronics and white goods at curbside in damaged areas of Joplin.

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