HAMPSTEAD — Take an old, broken refrigerator and turn it into a gift to charity.
The Hampstead Lions Club are holding the second annual Electronic and Appliance Recycling Fundraiser Saturday, June 4, asking residents to drop off old appliances for a fee, which they will then donate to someone in need locally.
Sam Longbook is organizing the event and said the Lions raised a significant amount of money last year.
"People are usually thrilled to get rid of the stuff and thrilled to give to charity," he said. "A lot of people will call us and ask when the next one is. We have a couple of offices that have asked when the next one is so they can start to clear out old computers."
The Lions charge slightly less than the town of Hampstead and some recycling companies to dispose of old appliances, Longbook said. If the town charges $20 to recycle an old refrigerator, the Lions charge $15, saving residents money and putting the dollars directly toward charity.
Atkinson-based recycling company Winfield Alloy recycles the electronics and appliances, but doesn't charge the Lions, as they would other customers.
"We'll absorb the costs," Winfield Alloy general manager Jason Braun said. "Anything with a hazardous waste is a cost to us because we have to dispose of it correctly."
Refrigerators, air conditioners and freezers made before 1995 can contain chlorofluorocarbons, mercury or oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which Winfield has to handle. But residents also recycle profitable items, so the company usually breaks even.
"Some people are bringing computer scrap and metals like iron, and that's how we make a profit," Braun said.
He said the company also gets business from the recycling fundraiser.
"Once people realize what we do and that we participated," he said. "They may be looking at the gutter they took off their house last year that's just lying around and they'll bring it to us. It works out for everyone."
There many other organizations in New Hampshire that recycle scrap metal and used electronics as fundraisers, though most don't do large appliances. The East Derry Village Improvement Society held a scrap metal fundraiser in April and three such events last year, according to organizer Dave McPherson.
"Last year, we raised about $5,000 from the three events," he said. "But you have to work for the money. We go to people's houses and pull strange objects out of back yards that have been grown over, like old engines. We went to someone's house and pulled out two 10-foot satellite dishes once."
McPherson said people are really grateful to get rid of their junk and happy to contribute to the Improvement Society.
"Grants are harder to find and public funding is nonexistent, so you have to be creative in ways to raise cash," he said. "We're very thankful a lot of people in the community have opened up their back yards to us to grab their old scrap metal."
The Windham PTA and the Children Against Mines Program in Kingston also have raised money by doing electronics recycling. Longbook said their recycling day is different because they will take everything, including washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, dryers, vacuum cleaners, stoves and more.
Lions Club members will be at the corner of Routes 111 and 121 in Hampstead, helping people unload used appliances from their cars into a Dumpster, that Winfield with pick up at the end of the day. The organization also has a few pickup trucks and, for $20, will pick up items from someone's home or garage.
The Lions plan to do at least two or three more recycling fundraisers this summer, in different locations.
"I'm also the president of the Lions Camp Pride, a summer camp for children with handicaps," Longbook said. "We're going to do a few more of these Saturdays to benefit that organization. One will be planned hopefully in Sandown and one in Newton."
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—BOX MATERIAL FOLLOWS
What: Electronic and Appliance Recycling Fundraiser
Where: Junction of Routes 111 and 121 in Hampstead
When: Saturday June 4, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information: Call Sam Longbook at 329-5603