The list of electronics that can’t go in the garbage is growing. Already, old TVs, computers, monitors and printers are not allowed in Illinois landfills. With the New Year, the amended Electronic Recycling and Reuse Act includes 13 more items, such as cable boxes, game consoles, fax machines and DVD players.
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These items contain toxic materials, and they contain materials that should be recycled, says Mel Nickerson of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “We have literally hundreds of in-state recyclers that will, at their businesses, dismantle items into their raw materials for recycling, and sell those items on the open market,” he said. Under the law, electronics recycling must be free for residential consumers. The cost is the responsibility of manufacturers, but the cost will be mitigated by the value of the recycled contents. Cities and counties will have drop-off locations, and some stores will collect old units from customers who buy new. The amount of electronics recycled is expected to grow in Illinois from 28 million pounds this year to 50 million pound in 2012.
The Illinois EPA will enforce the law at landfills, but waste haulers will know not to collect any forbidden items if they see them. Nickerson says he expects broad voluntary compliance because recycling is free and “it’s the right thing to do.”