Cardinals, MERS Goodwill team up for e-recycling drive

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - In honor of Earth Day, the St. Louis Cardinals have teamed up with MERS Goodwill to host an e-cycling drive Tuesday.

From 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., they'll be housed on Parking Lot C, at the corner of 8th and Cerre streets, just down the street from the Stan Musial statue. For your donation, you'll receive a voucher for a half-price Cardinals ticket.

When you donate your old computer or laptop, you might wonder what happens to it? NewsChannel 5 got an inside look at MERS Goodwill's new program to find out.

Donating old clothes is one thing, but old computers? That gets personal.

Mark Arens, executive vice president of MERS Goodwill, said, "People don't want to just give that away to anybody. And I think dropping it off at a Goodwill store could maybe feel like, 'Well, who is in charge of this?'"

MERS Goodwill has employees whose job is to keep your information safe, and your old computer out of a landfill. When you donate your computer, they say it doesn't even get turned on but it does get taken apart.

"We kind of clean it off, dust it off, open the case up, and essentially pull everything out from the inside," Arens said.

Every computer they receive is taken apart and the pieces are shipped out to other companies so they don't end up in a landfill.

Arens said, "After they are cleaned and wiped and safe, we're able to sell those, just like clothing. If someone donates a piece of clothing that's not good enough to sell, we're able to sell that on kind of a commodities market also."

But what about that precious hard drive that stores all of your private files? They use this machine, that's basically like a giant magnet, to erase all the information. Then, like all the other pieces inside a computer, the blank hard drive is sold to a company.

Cynthia Bourgeois, Coordinator at Computer Works said, "For instance, there's some gold, there's some copper, there's some silver. And that's what they're after.'

MERS Goodwill representatives said they barely break even with money they make from selling parts, which means they need more computers, in order to create more work, so they can hire more people.

The Computer Works program employs about 10 workers who have Development Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.


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