Highland Vista Volunteer Sarah Harman’s Recycling Project A Big Hit With County Residents
Monterey, VA – Sarah Harman’s Americorps/Vista project from February is paying big dividends for Highland County residents. Sarah, a Highland High School and Virginia Tech graduate has been back in Highland County for about a year and a half working at the Highland Center in an Americorps/Vista position. She talks about how she came up with her special project.
“Vistas are encouraged to do a service project for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” says Harman. “This year I ran across a place in Harrisonburg that was called Computer Cycling Center of Virginia, and it took computers and other electronic devicies. They either refurbish them or they use their parts; and then they would sell them back to schools and stuff that needed them for a significantly lower price than they would normally get it.”
After finding an organization in Harrisonburg that would recycle old computers and electronic devices Sarah went to Richard Waybright, manager of Highland County’s solid waste and recycling center.
“I asked him what he did with the computer equipment and stuff that they got” she says. And they said that is was very difficult for them to dispose of that kind of thing because they had to take it to a certain place and they had to pay for it to be disposed of because it has a lot of toxic chemicals in it.”
“I asked him if he would mind putting a box out for people to collect and I put signs around saying that I was collecting computer equipment and electronics. It was set to go for a month from Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Valentines’ Day. I didn’t think it was that big of a need in Highland.”
Sarah was pleasantly surprised at the response to her collection drive.
“When I called Richard to see about taking the stuff over, he was like well we got a ton of stuff” says Harman. “You can’t take it over in just your car cause I was thinking I would be able to fit it in a jeep or a truck or something. I wasn’t expecting that much stuff and I still had people coming up to me and saying are you still doing that, can I still take my stuff; I’m so glad you did this.”
When she called the recyclers in Harrisonburg to see about delivering the load, she found that there were going to be charges to accept some of the items. So that started Sarah on another search to find someone who would take all the items without charging. She found that the Goodwill office in Staunton would accept those materials at no charge.
Richard Waybright trucked about one and a half tons of old computers and electronic devices to the Staunton Goodwill office. Mr. Rexrode at the Staunton Goodwill office was so impressed with the amount of material generated by Sarah’s project that he asked Richard Waybright if he would be interested in setting up a Goodwill collection station at the recycling center in Monterey.
County Administrator Roberta Lambert and Richard Waybright met with Mr. Rexrode in early March. Ms. Lambert is now drawing up a draft agreement regarding establishing a Goodwill collection station in Monterey.
So, as a result of Sarah Harman’s initiative, Highland County residents will likely have a convenient way to dispose of old computers and electronic gear that will save the county money and at the same time will benefit Goodwill Industries and the environment.