How To Properly Dispose Of eWaste

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is your basement full of used TVs, computers or worn out furniture? Did you receive the newest electronic gadget for Christmas and no longer have a need for any of the items that continue to stack-up?

Sticking your old stuff in the landfill is a no-no.

Just because the product may be worn out by your standards, does not mean items cannot be reused elsewhere.

"We're always going to have trash, and we need to manage that in a very responsible way," said Jo Oliver, Sedgwick County recycling coordinator.

Sedgwick County has become involved in the recycling process, urging everyone to think twice before they throw anything away.

In 2009, the county accepted more than 1 million pounds of electronics in a one-day eWaste event.

This Fall, the Environmental Resources Department handed out 7,000 coupons good for $28 for those looking to dispose of large bulky items, like torn furniture.

"The last thing we want is someone to dump that on the curbside," said Oliver.

Especially because that practice can leave long-lasting effects.

"You have lead phosphorous in the CRT tube. You have different kind of chemical coatings on the wire, and stuff like this that will get into the ground, and get into the drinking water. After that, it goes to you," said Bob Lawhead, American eWaste Recyclers co-owner.

Lawhead's business is one of several in the area that accept used electronics, and dispose of them for you.

Best Buy has a similar program. They charge customers $10 for a recyclable item, and in return, give customers a $10 gift card.

"A lot of the parts can be salvaged off the existing components, so, the gold and the copper, and the things on the circuit boards, can be recycled, so, we take those apart, and reuse what we can," said Matt Lokay, Best Buy general manager.

If your used VCR still works, or your couch that looks like grandma's curtains is still comfy, donate it.

If both items are unusable and worn out, recycle them.

"Keeps it out of the landfills and helps protect the earth," said Lawhead.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates only 15-20% of eWaste is recycled.

Fifty million tons of eWaste items are produced every year.

The U.S. is the world leader in producing electronic waste, tossing away three million tons each year.

Up to sixty elements can be found in one complex electronic; a lot of items that can be reused.

For a complete list of area businesses that accept recycled items, click here.

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