03/21/04 — Electronic recycling

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Electronic recycling

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 21, 2004 2:05 AM

Keep Wayne County Beautiful is giving residents another chance to keep obsolete and harmful electronic equipment out of the county landfill.

The organization is once again teaming up with Franklin's Recycling Co. to hold a one-day electronics collection. The parking lot of Sam's Club will be the site for the collection, scheduled for Saturday, March 27, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Items accepted for collection range from traditional consumer electronics, such as computers, printers, keyboards and scanners. Items also cover TVs, VCRs, stereos and fax machines, digital cameras, cellular phones and personal digital assistants. No appliances will be accepted.

For further information, call KWCB at 731-1600, or e-mail KABWAYNE@aol.com.

The event is free, and provides an excellent opportunity for both residents and businesses to participate, says Simonne Cato, director of KWCB.

One of the biggest environmental threats from obsolete electronic equipment is the leakage of lead from cathode ray tubes (CRTs) into the groundwater. CRTs are funnel-shaped, leaded glass tubes with a metal frame inside that are housed in computer monitors and televisions.

Ms. Cato said the major environmental concern comes from the five to seven pounds of lead each CRT can contain.

This is the third time KWCB has joined with Franklin's Recycling to offer an electronics recycling day in Wayne County.

"This not only keeps the electronic equipment out of the landfill, but it also helps raise awareness in the community about responsible options that protect the environment," Ms. Cato said.

While reuse is one option, she explains, it is not a long-term solution because sooner or later the equipment becomes obsolete and a part of the waste stream.

"As with the benefits of other recycling programs, collecting and recycling the various component parts of electronic equipment helps recover valuable resources such as copper, lead, gold and other metals which decrease the use of virgin materials and the destructive effects of mining for these materials," she said.

"Franklin's Recycling Co. sends none of the collected electronics to landfills," added Ms. Cato. "Electronics have become part of our everyday life, and the volume of outdated and obsolete electronic equipment is quickly becoming a toxic burden to landfills across the nation."

A study by the National Safety Council determined that over 315 million computers would become obsolete by this year because of accelerated consumption and technology turnover.

The question facing municipalities, states and the federal government is how to safely discard electronics, says Ms. Cato.