03/16/05 — Old electronics will be accepted for recycling Saturday at Sam's Club

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Old electronics will be accepted for recycling Saturday at Sam's Club

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on March 16, 2005 1:47 PM

Keep Wayne County Beautiful is sponsoring an electronics recycling collection from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Sam's Club.

Franklin's Recycling Company will be collecting old computers, TVs, VCRs, camcorders, telephone systems, printers, copiers, fax machines, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Appliances will not be accepted.

There's no charge to drop off items.

Electronic waste is an increasingly difficult problem, according to Simonne Cato, director of Keep Wayne County Beautiful.

Research by the European Union has shown that electronic waste is growing three times faster than other types of municipal waste, she said. The EPA is now conducting its own research.

This is partially due to the rapid pace of technology, which makes equipment obsolete quicker than it once was, she said. For example, the average lifespan of a personal computer is now two years, compared to 4.5 years for those purchased in 1992. The National Safety Council predicts 250 million computers will become obsolete and destined for disposal this year.

Traditional TVs can last seven years or longer, but plasma TVs are only expected to last three-four years.

Cellphones have the shortest life cycle, around 18 months. Approximately 100-130 million subscribers will upgrade their phones this year with 97 million that will either be "stashed or trashed," Ms. Cato said.

She noted that it is often cheaper to replace electronics equipment rather than fix it.

However, electronics often contain hazardous waste, including lead, cadmium, chromium, and certain toxic flame-retardants. An estimated 70 percent of all hazardous waste entering landfills is in electronic equipment.

The equipment collected Saturday will not end up being landfilled. Some will be refurbished to extend its useful life and others will be recycled.

All cell phones will be sorted and tested by a national company. Those in good working condition will be repaired and sold. Phones beyond repair will be recycled in a way that has no impact on landfills. The accessories and batteries will be recycled in the same fashion.

"These one-day collection events help raise awareness in the community about responsible end-of-life options that protect public health and the environment instead of sending it to the landfill," Ms. Cato said.

Recycling helps recover valuable resources such as steel, glass, plastic, copper, lead, gold and other metals, she added.

This will be the fifth electronics recycling event held by Keep Wayne County Beautiful. The previous four have collected more than 63 tons.