So many people showed up with old computer monitors, television sets and other electronic waste at a Marin County recycling event Saturday that officials summoned more trucks to haul it all away.

A steady line of 40 to 50 cars snaked through the county fairgrounds parking lot at the Civic Center in an intermittent drizzle as people waited their turn – many close to an hour – to drop off electronic junk.

“It’s been nonstop boogie since 8 o’clock this morning,” said Marion Boyd, deputy director of the county’s Department of Cultural and Visitor Services, which sponsored the event along with a state recycling firm, Electronic Recyclers.

Boyd said that three 30-foot-long truck trailers provided by Electronic Recyclers for the two-day event were filled on Saturday alone, and two more trailers are on the way in preparation for Sunday’s haul.

Boyd said a few people complained of the long wait to unload their old equipment, but most took the long line in stride.

“Most people feel this is a good way to spend Earth Day,” she said. “Things are good, good for Marin.”

Gary Caldwell, a county utility employee, was among a dozen workers who moved electronic waste from cars to an array of bulging four-foot-high cardboard boxes. The junk was sorted by product type.

“It’s been very busy all day, but it’s been a little bit of an experimental thing,” said Caldwell, adding about 10 cars were lined up at 7:30 a.m., a half hour before the event started.

Piles of TVs, computer monitors and computer accessories of various vintage stacked up as cars were unloaded.

San Anselmo resident Dave Strassman, 77, said it took him about 15 minutes to get a third of the way through the line, but added he didn’t mind the wait to recycle his 15-year-old computer.

“I think it’s worth it,” he said. “This event gives me the incentive to want to recycle.”

David Bearden, 53, of Kentfield has similar sentiments. “It’s all worthwhile,” he said after a 40-minute wait to unload an old TV, bulky computer monitor and keyboard.

“I’ve always taken items to the recycling center, but electronics recycling you don’t see very often,” he said.

Not everyone was pleased.

“The way they set this up was ridiculous,” said Gloria Gilbert of Novato after a 30-minute wait to recycle a computer monitor and printer. She said organizers should have set up a better system to deal with those with just a few items to recycle, and those who held up the line because their cars were jammed with old gear.

Dana Armanino, the county’s green business coordinator, greeted people midway through the line. “Electronic Recyclers said to expect highs and lows, but this has been full bore all day long,” she said.

San Rafael’s Jeff Yee, with 9-year-old daughter Kiera in tow, was among the few to park and carry over a couple commuter accessories. “I figured this is better than to waste gas sitting in line,” he said.

Geri Haram, 56, of San Rafael read a book as she waited.

“I had no idea it’d be this long, but I’ve always got a book with me,” said Haram, waiting to offer up a computer she bought 15 years ago.

“I’ve been hanging onto it because I couldn’t get rid of it,” she said.


The E-Waste Weekend continues from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Marin County fairgrounds at the Civic Center in San Rafael.

Other Earth Day activities are scheduled Sunday in Fairfax, Nicasio and Point Reyes Station.

For those unable to attend, free electronic waste recycling is offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Renew Computers at 1241 Andersen Drive, Suite J, in San Rafael. The company holds a free electronic recycling event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday every month at 1201 Andersen Drive, Suite G.

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