Green Business Practices: Fleet Science Center E-Waste Program

Rubi BaricuatroBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, Sustainability Program

The Fleet Science Center not only strives to be a leader in presenting and adopting innovative science and technology, but they also take the responsibility of properly disposing of hazardous e-waste. Started as an internal measure to properly dispose of hazardous electronic waste, the program quickly expanded to service Balboa Park’s arts and culture organizations. So far this year, 3,060 pounds of e-waste have been diverted!

Electronic waste consists of most items with a cord, like appliances, computers, televisions or battery operated items, including batteries. While these technological marvels help as time savers, communication devices and entertainment in our everyday lives, they also have a limited life expectancy and the market is constantly creating new upgraded products. E-waste products usually contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, flame retardants, and other chemicals. If these items are not properly disposed of, they are sent to landfills or incinerators where they leak or produce toxic fumes that enter our environment.

As a community education center and facility, the Fleet Science Center takes responsibility in following green business practices to create a healthy and clean community. Along with the e-waste program, the Fleet Science Center also maintains green purchasing, alternative transportation, energy conservation, and water conservation practices. These efforts combined has helped the Fleet Science Center achieve LEED Silver® certification in 2010, and recertification in 2015 through the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED® green building program.

The best practice for electronics is to use them as long as their lifetime allows or up to their ability to keep up with program or software advancements. Many electronics can also be refurbished, recycled and reused for parts. Sometimes you can even be paid to recycle your items! Disposing of your electronics in your garbage or recycling bins is illegal in the state of California, so avoid fines and contamination by using I Love a Clean San Diego’s Waste Free SD site, Earth911, the Fleet’s e-waste hauler, EnviroGreen,  or local business recycling programs. Sometimes manufacturers have their own recycling program. City of San Diego residents also have the option to drop-off their electronics at the Miramar Recycling Center, but you can keep an eye out for free e-waste community events, too. You can do your part in keeping toxic chemicals out of our water, soil, and air by following the Fleet’s example.