Jack O’Neill, a Boy Scout in Troop 6 in Southold, wanted to do something different for his Eagle Scout project to give back to the community.
“This project really spoke to me, because a lot of Eagle projects have just been building a garden or building another park bench — and there’s nothing wrong with that … it’s good to give back to the community like that,” the 17-year-old said. “But I wanted to do something like this, because I wanted to make a difference with the environment, because with global warming, and all this stuff going on right now, I think it’s important to be conscious of climate change and pollution.”
So Jack set up an electronic waste recycling event that will take place Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — rain or shine — at the Southold American Legion.
“I want to give members of the community a safe way to dispose of their electronics, because there are toxic materials in our electronics, such as mercury, lead and cadmium, and it can leak into our water supply and can also pollute our air as well, so I want to give residents a safe way to dispose of those materials,” he said.
Among the items that will be accepted are computers, laptops, monitors, printers, flat-screen TVs, gaming consoles and cellphones, according to a flyer for the event.
The waste will be collected and then taken to the transfer station in Cutchogue, where it will be disposed of safely. Jack said his goal is to collect approximately 400 pounds of e-waste.
Jack worked with his Eagle Scout coach, Rebecca Lucack, Southold Town officials and the town solid waste department to set up the event. Other members of his troop will also be on hand to help him on the day of the drive.
The event will also include information on cybersecurity for community members. There will be pamphlets with information on how to avoid internet scams and more that Jack is writing and printing himself.
“Aside from giving residents an opportunity to safely dispose of their electronics, I wanted to have an emphasis on cyber safety as well,” he said.
Jack said that although this project took a lot of work — from getting approvals from the Boy Scouts board and committee to meetings and emails — he hopes the end result will be a source of pride for the community.
“It was a learning process,” Jack said, “but I think the end result will be something that everyone involved can be proud of.”