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June 12th, 2023

Our Stories: Plugging into communities with e-recycling events

For five years, the Cook Medical headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana has hosted e-recycling events. We held it again this year, and the tradition has recently sparked other electronics recycling events at other Cook locations. It’s a part of who we are; it’s how we stay connected to the community and work toward our mission of being friendly to the planet.

At each event, community members can bring electronics to be collected and recycled. Normally, there’s a charge to properly dispose of these kinds of products, but these events allow the community to donate their electronics for recycling free of charge. If not recycled properly, these electronics can leach harmful chemicals into the soil, so this makes a big difference for people as well as for the planet. Here are ways Cook employees across the country are making a difference for their communities with e-waste recycling events.

Vandergrift, Pennsylvania

Team members at Cook Vandergrift volunteered at a recycling day event

The morning of Saturday, April 22, was cloudy just outside of Pittsburgh. However, that didn’t stop a current of excited energy from running through 15 Cook volunteers as they grabbed gloves and headed to work at their first electronics recycling event. Cook co-hosted the event with McCutcheon Enterprises, a local family-owned waste management company.

The event was a hit. Throughout the event, many positive comments were heard, including:

“Are you sure this is free?”

“Thank you so much for giving us a place to get rid of our electronics!”

“Can we make a donation?”

“What a smoothly run event, so quick and efficient!”

“Thank you thank you thank you!”

By the time the last truck pulled away from the parking lot, volunteers had gathered 86 pallets and 4.5 tractor trailer loads of waste.

The employees got a little incentive too. Kristy M., a human resources manager at the Vandergrift facility, is collecting guesses from employees who want to estimate how many pounds of waste were collected during the event. The person who guesses closest to the actual amount will get a week of free lunch in the Vandergrift facility café.

Lafayette, Indiana

Lafayette is home to multiple Cook entities, including Cook Research Incorporated and Cook Biotech. The employees there also wanted to spark a wave of planet-friendly actions in their city, so they also hosted an electronics recycling event.

The IT department in Lafayette contributed a significant amount of equipment they were no longer using. Additionally, one employee brought in four boxes of electronics that he’d had for a while. In total, around 256 cubic feet of electronic material was gathered and sent to recycling.

Bloomington, Indiana

Members of Indiana University’s football team joined the Bloomington electronics recycling event

Bloomington has enjoyed the tradition of an electronics recycling day for years. Each year, Cook partners with local organizations Big Boys Moving and RecycleForce. These organizations hire and train people who were formerly incarcerated. Together, they help Cook volunteers gather, load and recycle the thousands of pounds of electronics the community donates each year. Other volunteers this year included the Indiana University football team. As part of nonprofit Hoosiers for Good, the athletes lent their strength and their time to help better the community.

This year, 1,060 cars came through the donation line, giving a grand total of 113,240 pounds of electronics to be recycled at RecycleForce’s facility in Indianapolis. The goods were loaded into semi trucks to continue on their journey of being taken apart in an eco-friendly way while supporting employment for previously incarcerated people.

To keep an eye on what other Cook facilities around the world are doing to support the planet, including installing solar panels and planting trees, check out