posted 2012-11-21 22:56:30

Electronic Waste Collection To Occur in December

Hurricane Sandy postpones waste collection dates in November 

Kristina Chan

Staff Writer

In late December, facilities staff will pick up universal and electronic waste, such as monitors, computers, cameras, audio eqipment, lamps and batteries, left in the hallway. The disposal period, originally slated for Nov. 14 and 15, was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy because additional staff was assigned to work at the Brookdale campus in the aftermath of the storm.

Designated days for electronic and universal waste disposal occur three times a year, but students and faculty can dispose of their waste all year round by contacting the Office of Environmental Health and Safety or Instructional Computing Information Technology (ICIT).

“[Students and faculty] can arrange on an individual basis, but the emphasis is on getting people to think about what they have in their office,” said Ricardo Franco, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Franco encouraged certain types of waste, such as refrigerators and microscopes, to be disposed of immediately, especially waste that contain lead, chromium or other heavy metals and toxic materials because they may pose a safety hazard if accidentally broken.
“Some people don’t stay on top of it day and night,” said Jim Barry, ICIT Help Desk Coordinator. “Some people are too busy to call during the year, some people hoard the material.”

The dates set to collect electronic and universal waste have historically gathered 450 to 700 pieces of equipment — enough to fill up a 10 foot by 20 feet room one and a half times — according to Franco.

Equipment, such as computers, video cameras, televisions, and audio equipment, gets sent to ICIT staff, and they determine whether or not to refurbish or discard the material depending upon its age. Usually, the cut-off is six years. After the six-year mark, the equipment is deemed obsolete, said Barry.

Equipment with CUNY or Hunter barcodes must be cleared with the Office of Property Management before disposal, and hard drives are required to be cleaned by ICIT staff.

According to Barry, It is crucial that hard drives are properly cleaned by ICIT before disposal because of potential sensitive data that may reside on the drive. Copy machines and even printers may contain confidential information, such as social security numbers. A machine called WipeMaster is used to write over the data stored in the hard drives with the letters “x” and “o” seven times.
This process can take several hours depending on the size of the hard drive. “It’s like scribbling over a piece of writing,” Barry said.

Although there are designated days for electronic and universal waste to be collected, ICIT does get equipment all year round.

“It’s dictated by the ongoing replacement of computers as they are scheduled to be replaced,” Barry said.

Every four years, full-time faculty members receive a new computer. This four-year cycle has helped increase the overall number of equipment the ICIT receives each year.

This electronic waste collection process began around 2001 when it was put forth by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the “pioneers within CUNY to dispose of electronic waste,” Franco said.