Smash rooms give recycling new meaning

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Stacks of old, used printers stand tall in the back of a small garage room. A large recycling bin holding a smashed-up printer and computer parts sits right next to them.

A new Lakeland business is giving these old items a new purpose in the form of some good, old-fashioned stress relief.

Tyana Daley is the spokesperson for Smash Room of Tampa, which opened this month. The name is self-explanatory - people pay to smash things, $30 a person for 20 minutes to be exact.

Customers are taken into a small room. They're given a basket of various items - plates, glasses, and small electronics - and one large electronic, usually a printer. They smash them with a sledgehammer, crowbar, baseball bat, hammer and sometimes even a golf club.

"We encourage you to bring a friend," Daley said. "As long as you can come here, relieve stress and leave with a smile on your face, that's definitely our goal here."

The company's website makes a simple request - "We want your junk!!!"

Right now, Daley says they receive 25 percent of their items via donations, while they purchase the other 75 percent, some from recyclers and buying some from secondhand and consignment shops. Daley hopes that ratio will eventually flip-flop as word of the business grows.

The good news for Smash Room and recyclers - the majority of the smashed items will be properly recycled after they're smashed.

"They use the plastic, the metal, all of the hardware," she said. "Virtually all of it is recyclable because they can melt it down and use it more other parts, so they love to see all of this that we have here."

But before that happens, the items will be smashed in Lakeland and hopefully in Tampa, as Daley says they hope that location will be open by the end of the year.