BY SANDY ILLIAN BOSCH
December 21, 2011 1:14PM
Updated: December 21, 2011 4:27PM
Getting a new computer for Christmas? Beginning Jan. 1, getting rid of the old one will be a little more complicated.
In the new year, waste haulers throughout Illinois no longer will accept electronics, including computers, printers, televisions and digital converter boxes, to name a few.
Illinois legislators passed the Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act in August, banning electronics from landfills. The law makes it illegal for consumers to dispose of banned items in the trash and makes it illegal for landfills to accept them. Violations carry a $7,000 fine.
“Electronics are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. waste system and contain hazardous materials such as lead and mercury,” said Jeff Redick, chairman of the DuPage County Environmental Committee, which has worked for years to increase recycling and to decrease the amount of electronics in area landfills.
Redick said the county’s efforts seem to be working. In 2008, 370,000 pounds of electronics were recycled. In the first 11 months of 2011, 1.35 million pounds had been saved from landfills, Redick said
“It’s had a huge impact,” he said.
The new law will go even further toward keeping electronics out of landfills.
“The new electronics ban will ensure that people think twice before they throw an electronic away and hopefully they will seek other opportunities to either reuse the item or recycle it,” Redick said.
“This is when you see people replacing electronics at a greater rate,” said Redick, referring to the number of televisions, computers and other devices that people replace over the holidays.
He said people are understandably wary about turning over electronics that contain personal information. Redick assures consumers that Creative Recycling, a company with which the county has partnered, is a safe way to go.
Creative Recyling picks up items such as computers and hard drives from the county’s recycling drop-off facilities and properly disposes of all personal information before recycling the items.
“They strip them of information,” Redick said.
Jim Caporusso, environmental coordinator with the West Cook County Solid Waste Agency, said the agency has contracted with Vintage Tech, a Romeoville company, to help consumers abide by the new law. Vintage Tech will work with individual communities throughout the Agency’s territory to arrange free recycling pickups.
“It’s free of charge to municipalities,” he said.
Between pickups, residents can drop off electronics at a number of recycling facilities.
For a full list of items that fall under the new law, and for more information about the law, visit dupageco.org/recycling.