‘Recycling Electronics is no Longer Optional’
With February upon us, we are already ensconced into the new year. Oftentimes a new year means a fresh start; we can shed last year’s hardships and challenges and look forward to a happy and successful 2012. In addition to resolutions and hope, a new year often brings new, beneficial laws: 2008 brought a public smoking ban; 2010 marked the ban of texting while driving. And January 1 of this year expands the ban of electronics from landfills in the state of Illinois.
Each of these laws has been adopted to make our communities safer and healthier. Electronics carry components that are harmful to the environment and therefore should not be disposed in landfills, our environment. Prior to January, certain types of small electronics were already excluded from waste collection, such as cell phones. Now, State Law SB2106 (P.A. 97-0287) has expanded the Electronic Products Recycling & Reuse Act by increasing the number of different types of banned electronics.
The following items can no longer be placed into trash receptacles for waste collection or otherwise directed to the landfill: computers, monitors, keyboards, fax machines, VCRs, DVD players/recorders, video game consoles, scanners, digital converter boxes, cable/satellite receivers, small-scale servers, and portable digital music players. It is also unlawful to mix electronics in other parts of trash.
So what do we do with electronics that no longer work, are outdated, or otherwise need to be disposed? The new law provides for this as well. Manufacturers are to assume more responsibility for the safe disposal of the electronics they produce. Therefore, it is expected that more companies will develop recycling and reuse programs for their brands.
There are also opportunities for residents to recycle or donate electronics at local retailers. American, Best Buy, and RadioShack have recycling programs for electronics; check individual stores for program details. Some retailers offer electronics recycling free of charge, some provide a $10 gift card in exchange for the $10 recycling fee, and others have online trade-in programs. In addition, there are non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill, that accept electronics to be refurbished or recycled.
The U.S. EPA states that only 25% of electronics are recycled each year. Computers and computer parts account for nearly half of all electronics in landfills. Many of these electronics contain materials and components that can be easily reclaimed and reused to help protect the environment and conserve resources. In Illinois, it is no longer possible to dispose of most electronic waste in landfills. Residents who violate the new law may be fined $25.00 for the first offense and $50.00 for each subsequent offense.
Please help protect our environment for future generations by properly disposing of electronics. For more information and a complete list of banned electronics and local recycling locations, visitwww.peoriacounty.org/recycling.