Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Derby, like many communities, has benefitted from several Eagle Scout projects over the years, but a Scout striving toward that accomplishment this year has found a unique way to help fill a community need.
Alex Meek, a Derby High School Junior, has organized an electronic recycling event to help his community safely and legally dispose of old electronics and even some appliances.
"I started with some basic planning, of course, some ideas I'd want to do and this was one of the ideas," he said. "It turned out to be the most feasible option."
While mulling options for his Eagle Scout project, Meek knew an e-waste event sponsored by Derby Sixth Grade students had been popular. He also saw a need for another event.
"Even just walking around town, I'd hear people say, 'I've got this old computer in my garage and I don't know what to do with it,' or, 'I've got this old washer that doesn't work,'" Meek said.
As part of the requirement for becoming and Eagle Scout, Alex had to organize the event on his own. That included finding a Wichita company to haul the old electronics away, getting other Scouts to provide labor for Saturday's event and securing permission from the City of Derby to use High Park.
The city was glad to help.
"We are very, I say blessed, because we have a lot of projects and you can drive through the city right now and we can show you probably half a dozen, if not more, very obvious, very prominent projects," said Public Works Director Robert Mendoza. He said each Eagle Scout project has served a community need.
Saturday's project is one Mendoza is sure will be very popular with the community.
"I think they're going to be busier than they expect," he said. "When people find a good way to get rid of some of those electronics they're hanging on to, they may see quite a few cars come through."
Those cars can come from anywhere. The event is not limited to Derby residents.
"We'll gladly take anybody's junk," Meek said. "We take everything pretty much, except for things containing freon like fridges or air conditioners."
Anybody who needs to dispose of household electronics or appliances that do not contain any hazardous materials, such as freon, can drop the items off in Derby's High Park between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday.
E-waste events have been popular among Sedgwick County residents.
In 2009, the county accepted more than one million pounds of electronics during a one-day event. Last fall, Sedgwick County's Environmental Resources Department handed out coupons for people looking to dispose of large, bulky items.
For residents unable to take advantage of Saturday's event, several area businesses accept used furniture, electronics and other recyclable items. A complete list can be found here.