BY EVA MAYS
For The Dominion Post
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of recycling electronics. Many big box stores offer recycling and haul-away services, but they often limit the type and number of devices an individual can bring in for recycling, and sometimes charge for their services. Some organizations offer sporadic electronic recycling events, but getting there on a specific date with recyclables in tow can be a challenge. These barriers may be preventing consumers from recycling — according to the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership, only around 15% of the 7,000 kilotons of e-waste Americans produced in 2017 was collected and appropriately recycled.
Morgantown-based nonprofit Nerd Rage seeks to break down barriers to recycling and help people in the process. It is different from a big box store because it accepts an astonishing variety of electronics, has no minimum or maximum limit on the number of items that can be brought in at once, and offers pick-up services in the Morgantown area. And, Nerd Rage founder Jeremy Blizard was quick to add, these services are all offered free of charge.
Blizard originally opened Nerd Rage on Fayette Street in downtown Morgantown in 2016. In its original form, Nerd Rage was an electronics repair, tabletop gaming and comic book shop that also offered limited electronics recycling. But then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and Blizard made the hard decision to shutter his shop.
“After closing the store, I took some time off and started working more with the community, volunteering here and there,” Blizard said. After the hiatus, Blizard decided to resurrect Nerd Rage with a new purpose. “I changed directions and went with the full-time community assistance aspect since that’s what I cared about the most.” In November 2021, Nerd Rage officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Nerd Rage accepts drop-offs of “anything with electronics parts,” Blizard said. A full list of accepted items is available on the website, www.nerdragemotown.com. The only thing not taken is CRT monitors and TVs. These, Blizard said, can be scheduled for pickup through Republic Services.
New or gently used electronics are redistributed to local individuals or organizations in need. Items beyond repair are recycled through two West Virginia-based recycling centers, Infinite Electronics in Weirton and Rick’s Metal Works and Electronic Demanufacturing in Richie County. “I have recycled everything,” Blizard said, “from old microfiche machines and electric lawnmowers to mechanical clocks and Furbys.” Rick’s Metal Works hauls away about 10,000 pounds of e-waste for Nerd Rage every month.
Nerd Rage also accepts donations of food, clothing, and bicycles, which are passed on to the appropriate local nonprofits. Both donations and recyclables can be left at the 24/7 dropbox behind their location at 3142 Collins Ferry Road. If the dropbox is full, donors can leave items next to it, as long as they are out of the way of the driving and parking area. Donation receipts for tax-deduction purposes are available for new or gently used items, and Certificates of Destruction can be provided upon request when recycling storage devices that might contain sensitive personal information.
Free pickup services are available for recycling loads big and small. For the present, donors can schedule a pickup by contacting Nerd Rage through the contact information found on the website, but Blizard hopes to expand in the future to offer a dropbox in every ward of Morgantown, and perhaps bi-weekly full-service pickup.
“I’m super-excited,” he said. “I love helping people.”