New life for old gadgets
Since Will County, Ill., began collecting electronic waste at one-day annual events in 2000, demand continued to grow. So, in July, the county, along with several municipalities and townships, opened four permanent electronic recycling collection sites.
The municipalities and townships supervise the drop-off sites and arrange collections with a local contractor who sends the electronics to U.S.-based dismantling operations. Each month, the contractor reports the number of collections, the number and weight of CPUs, monitors, televisions and microwaves collected, and the weight of the many miscellaneous electronic items, such as DVDs and CDs, stereos, clocks, telephones and video game players. In its first seven months, the program collected nearly 100 tons of electronic items, breaking all previous annual one-day collection records.
The program has cost the county $46,103, including $16,440 for containers and site improvements. The remaining amount covers fees for pick-ups and processing costs (7 cents a pound for all electronic items except televisions, which cost 12 cents a pound). The program is funded from revenue generated by a county-owned landfill. “Because there’s a cost to providing this service, many of our local communities could not afford it, and with 849 square miles to cover, the county needed partners to supervise a series of drop-off sites. By working together, we were able to establish a successful program,” says Marta Keane, recycling program specialist. “It’s not only a great opportunity to work with our municipalities and townships in a very positive way, but we’re pleased to provide our citizens with an enhanced service as well.”
The collection program is keeping plastics, glass and metals out of the waste stream, adding to the growing component reuse market, and recovering resources for future manufacturing. “Thanks to the hard work and collaborative spirit of so many within our county, we have made a big difference in helping to protect our water and air resources, while reducing the contaminants that go to local landfills,” says Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
Electronics recycling partnership
Will County, Ill.
Land Use Department
Plainfield, Ill.-based Vintage Tech Recyclers
$46,103 through Jan. 31, 2008