Did you get a new computer or television over the holidays? What are you going to do with the old one?
One place old electronic equipment will no longer end up is in Illinois Land Fills as the result of a new law authored and guided through the Illinois General Assembly by which took effect Sunday.
In all, more than 30 items including televisions, monitors, computers, fax machines, VCRs, scanners and printers can no longer be deposited with regular trash. A complete list is available on the website of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.
The primary purpose of the legislation is environmental protection, according to Garrett. She introduced the new law to make sure chemicals contained in electronic devices do not eventually find their way into the water supply.
“The chemicals in these electronic devices leak out,” Garrett said. “They eventually get into our ground water and then the water supply. It is dangerous for the people of Illinois.” She is also hopeful old computers will find a renewed use. “Many can be refurbished and donated to schools and not for profits.”
Deerfield, Highland Park Have Disposal Opportunities
People in Deerfield and Highland Park have a number of options to dispose of electronics they no longer need but leaving them for the regular waste hauler will no longer work.
Anyone who leaves these items curbside will find them there after the hauler has left according to . Street described a number of things people in Deerfield can do.
“We have a number of planned drop-offs during the year,” Street said indicating there would be five or six opportunities in 2012. “Waste Management, our regular hauler, has offered to make a special pickup for $20.”
People in Highland Park and Deerfield can also take their old electronic items to Highland Park’s electronics recycling facility at 1180 Half Day Road between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. any Tuesday or Friday, according to .
Mandel also said Highland Park will be having a “recycling extravaganza” between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday.
“This is for anyone in Lake County especially people in Lake Forest, Deerfield, Highland Park and Highwood,” Mandel said. “This is an opportunity for people who can’t make it during the week.”
Compliance Burden Placed on Land Fills, Manufacturers
The burden of enforcing the law will be on landfills and transfer points that are regularly inspected by the Illinois Environmental Agency according to Mel Nickerson, an attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Though fines can be imposed, Nickerson hopes education of the public will do the job. “Public awareness and local collection points by municipalities are essential,” he said. “Schools can get involved. People will police themselves. It’s the right thing to do.”
The law also places responsibility on manufacturers, according to Nickerson. In 2012, producers of electronics must recycle in tonnage an amount equal to 50 percent of what they make. The ratio rises to 60 percent in 2013 and beyond.
, the state House of Representatives sponsor of the bill, explained the new legislation was passed to replace existing laws which were not effective.
“When you have a law on the books people can be lulled even if it’s not working,” Biss said. “This gave me the opportunity to do something that really mattered.” Like Garrett, Biss is concerned about ground water eventually reaching the water supply.
Garrett also sees employment opportunities in the new legislation. “This is also a job creator,” she said. “I saw this as an opportunity to create jobs through the refurbishing of old computers and other equipment.”