Meramec Regional Planning Commission, with funding from the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD), gathered 4.6 tons of electronics and appliances at a special collection held at the St. Robert Community Center.

Approximately 90 vehicles from within the Ozark Rivers seven-county region – Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington – dropped off items at the collection on Aug. 26. Seventy-six of the participating households were in Pulaski County.

           Brady Wilson, chairman of the ORSWMD, believes these special collections are valued not only as a convenience to local residents, but also as a way to reduce the environmental impact by keeping potentially toxic elements contained in electronic waste out of landfills.  

           “I believe the special collections are important to the residents of the communities within our region because it offers them an affordable option for properly disposing of, and recycling the items we tend to refer to as “orphan wastes” or those items that are difficult to find a home for,” Wilson said. “Tires and appliances are banned from landfills. In addition, these collection events help to gather these items which otherwise can often end up in county ditches and streams thereby desecrating the local landscape and the environment.” 

          The most frequently recycled items were large appliances such as dishwashers, washers, refrigerators, etc. 

Many individuals who came to the collection, while grateful for the opportunity to responsibly recycle their items, were curious where the items were going.

           “The certified collection contractor, Midwest Recycling Center in this case, distributes the collected items to either be refurbished or broken down to recycle rare earth element components,” Jill Hollowell, environmental program specialist with Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), said. “The last resort is responsible destruction that assures contaminants in electronics, such as mercury, lead and arsenic, never pollute our air or water.”

           The collection held last year in St. Robert collected 5.6 tons of electronics, appliances and tires. Tires were not collected this year.

            The next Ozark Rivers collection is Sept. 30 for electronics and tires at the Salem S/W Construction Parking Lot located at the corner of Third and Grand in Salem. 

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, promotes awareness and education to increase waste reduction and recycling efforts in member counties and cities. MRPC provides administration of the district and assists with a variety of implementation projects.

For more information about ORSWMD or waste reduction and recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC environmental programs manager, or Jill Hollowell at 573-265-2993. Follow Ozark Rivers on Facebook at or on our website at for 2018 collection locations and waste management programs.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 23, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at or on Facebook at