Eugene woman makes robots from electronic scraps

April Seay putting together robots. (SBG, AF)

EUGENE, Ore. – One Eugene woman is bringing dead electronics back to life - not by replacing the battery, but by turning them into robots.

April Seay takes electronic scraps from NextStep Recycling.

She sometimes makes two or three robots a day in a shop at her house.

She teaches children who go into NextStep on craft day how to make the most of something before throwing it away.

“I just didn't like seeing so much stuff going in the landfill so I started putting two and two together and then just evolved into doing this for years. Everybody knows to save me anything they can find,” said Seay.

April’s creative process starts by sifting through a bin of electronics which are on their way to the shredder.

Once she has her parts, she starts building.

"You have to take the insides out, the motor and the boards and stuff. Otherwise your screws won't go through them. Plus, it makes it really light,” she said.

April doesn't work at NextStep, she's a volunteer, and her robots are on display all over the shop and in neighborhood businesses.

She's made hundreds of bots over the years.

“At the time, every one of them had names," she said.

She said her very first creation, Miss G-6, who was eventually sold, is her all-time favorite. "And her twins, Rachel Refurbish and Rusty Redo able," she said.

Now years later, she's formed a robot army, who are spreading a message about creativity.

“It's just to show you don't throw it in the trash if you don't have to,” said Seay.

April has spent the last month putting together 14 of her newest robots.

She's going to be giving them away to 14 local schools who are currently competing in an electronic recycling competition.

All of the fourteen participating schools will get one of April’s robots.

Their goal is to fill up the drop off bins displayed at the front of each school.

The 3rd annual recycle competition is put on by Partners for Sustainable Schools, a Eugene nonprofit.

Throughout the school year they teach students about soil, water, and electronics recycling.

"It's not just computers and cell phones, it's basically anything that runs off of electricity. Whether it be plugged into a wall and has a plug, or if it runs off of batteries,” said Joshua Frankel, Program Coordinator for Partners for Sustainable Schools.

People can drop off their donations on behalf of a school to NextStep anytime in the month of May.

Donations can also be dropped off at the participating schools next week.

The winning school will be chosen at the end of May.

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