Great Lakes EPA Sets E-Waste, Medicine Collection Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes region, which is based in Chicago, Ill., has invited the public to join the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge to collect at least 1 million pounds of electronic waste and 1 million pills.

EPA is encouraging organizations, businesses, and communities in the region to protect the environment by sponsoring collections of unwanted medicines and electronic waste around Earth Day, April 22.

The Great Lakes are the largest source of fresh drinking water on Earth and are vital to commerce and recreation in the upper Midwest. Responsible recycling and disposal of unwanted electronics and medicines will prevent contaminants from polluting the Great Lakes basin.

"Last summer, there was an outpouring of support from thousands of people in the Great Lakes area to protect this national treasure," said EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager Mary A. Gade. "Participating in the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge is a simple way for individuals to take action to protect the lakes. I'm asking people to clear out their desk drawers, medicine cabinets, and basements and properly recycle or dispose of their old and unwanted cell phones, computers, TVs, and medicines at a local collection."

EPA has partnered with the nonprofit group Earth 911 to launch an online clearinghouse of collection events that will be held between April 19 and 27. As dates and locations for events are confirmed they will be added to the clearinghouse at

"EPA is pleased that Earth 911 volunteered to work with us on this important project, and we welcome other organizations that may wish to join us by sponsoring or publicizing collection events," said Gade.

Participating organizations should register their events at The Web site includes a "Plug-In to E-cycling" tool kit to help plan collection events.

For more information, call EPA's toll-free Earth Day Challenge Hotline at (866) 575-8543.

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