University Library takes on ‘technotrash’

Katie Huntley

Spring has officially sprung, and campus life continues to be greener than ever. In order to keep spreading the green, the University Library has partnered with GreenDisk to create a positive recycling environment for many technological trinkets.

GreenDisk is a recycling company that disposes of intellectual property on any piece of old electronic media or technotrash and then manufactures the materials to create a new-to-you product.

According to, “technotrash” is a “relatively new waste stream which includes all the spent supplies and … accessories associated with your computer.” This includes old computers and printers, CDs, hard drives and rechargeable batteries.

The two drop-off sites on the first floor of the library are located in the Information Commons and the computer lab, said Joseph Salem, head of reference and government information services and coordinator of the program.


Any of these items could be considered technotrash and can be dropped off in the GreenDisk box. Go to for more information.

• Diskettes, CDs, DVDs

• Video & audio tapes

• Ink jet & toner cartridges

• Cell phones

• PDAs & pagers

• Digital cameras

• Laptop computers

• Handheld devices

• CD & MP3 players

• Rechargeable batteries

When the library initially became interested in helping students and faculty become more environmentally friendly, Salem found GreenDisk to be the most appealing choice.

“(I) found GreenDisk to be a good option since they not only recycle, re-use or dispose of technotrash, but they also guarantee the protection of intellectual property and privacy,” Salem said. “This was important because it allows students and faculty to drop off these materials without fear of sharing personal data.”

The library sends out about one box of technotrash per month, Salem said.

“Each box holds approximately 70 pounds of technotrash,” Salem said. “Some months we have to send more, but usually a box lasts us a month.”

In return for their donations, students and faculty just receive “the satisfaction of knowing that they have been eco-friendly and responsible in their handling of these materials,” Salem said.

Going green, however, doesn’t simply mean dropping your trash off in a specific container.

“Recycling of any material is only half the battle,” Salem said. “We also need to buy products made from recycled materials.”

In order to keep the recycling loop closed, the library often orders office supplies made from recycled paper. Salem said CD and DVD sleeves made from recycled cardboard are now used when selling blank media to students.

GreenDisk also offers a line of recycled office supplies that can be purchased on the Web site.

Contact libraries and information services reporter

Katie Huntley at [email protected].