University Book Store
The UBS Digital Outpost is located at 673 State Street in downtown Madison.
It was at end of the UW-Madison spring semester that Don Beauchamp originally got the idea to recycle computer equipment during Madison's annual mid-August rental housing turnover. "Everybody was talking about furniture during the move out from the dorms, but nobody was saying anything about computer and electronics," he says. As manager of the University Book Store's Digital Outpost, Beauchamp decided to organize a recycling program for this kind of refuse.
"St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill are collecting things, but there's nothing being done to collect computers and electronics, and I thought it made sense to focus on that," he says. "Not to take anything away from what they're doing, but the charities don't want the computer equipment. Not much of it is reusable."
During a test run in mid-May, Beauchamp says the store, located on the west end of State Street, collected some 5,200 pounds of computers and computer equipment. Everything was subsequently sent to computer recycling roundup every April and November. "I was impressed when taking a tour of Cascade, and they are indeed recycling it," he says. "Very little of it is ending up in landfills."
Given the response in May, Beauchamp decided to once again host a computer recycling collection at the Digital Outpost during this fall's Moving Days. Unwanted computers and other electronics can be dropped off there this week; they'll take things like keyboards, CPUs, printer and scanners for free.
The shop does have to pay a $5 fee to Cascade for every conventional CRT monitor that it delivers, though. University Book Store is subsidizing this fee for all UW students and staff recycling these kinds of monitors, but members of the general public will be charged $5 in order to cover expenses. "We're not trying to make money, we're just trying to help," says Beauchamp.
The Digital Outpost roundup started on Sunday, and will run through this weekend. "We've got about a dozen computers right now, and considering there hasn't been a tremendous amount of publicity, I think that's pretty good," says Beauchamp. "Whatever it is, we can handle it. We just want to try and help out and get this stuff off the streets and out of the landfills."