Event will recycle old electronics

Event will recycle old electronics

Old computers, copiers, printers, phones, stereo equipment and other electronic gear – even old TVs, for a price – can be shed by Champaign County residents at an electronics recycling event set for April.

The event will be held, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 19 at the University of Illinois Waste Transfer Station, 10 E. Saint Marys Road, Champaign.

County residents and others can drop off items for free, except for TV sets, for which there is a $5 to $50 charge, depending on the size of the set and whether it is in a wood console, which adds to the cost of processing, said Susan Monte of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, the event coordinator.

"Televisions are more expensive to recycle, basically," she said.

A complete listing of the electronic items that will be accepted can be found at www.co.champaign.il.us, along with a fee schedule for accepting TVs. The cost for most sets is $20 or less.

Rod Fletcher, Urbana's environmental manager, said the contractor employed by the local governments sponsoring the recycling event charges more for TVs because they're getting tougher to sell for purposes such as reuse of components in computer monitors and smelting to recover the lead used in the glass.

"The glass market, especially for large TVs, is dwindling," Fletcher said. "It's becoming very, very hard to market glass from televisions."

So far, that doesn't have much to do with the nationwide conversion to digital television scheduled for next February, when some projections have as many as 27 million older sets being turned over for new digital models, but the changeover only promises to exacerbate the problem, Fletcher said.

"That conversion is really gonna be problematic," he said.

The upshot: If you have a TV to recycle, this might be the time to do it.

Fletcher did say, though, that the Illinois General Assembly is considering a law making electronics manufacturers responsible for recycling old equipment, which could save you some money if it passes and goes into effect in 2010 as proposed.

The countywide recycling events have been held annually over the last three years and recycled nearly 200,000 pounds of computer and electronic equipment. Last year, more than 1,600 vehicles were logged at the drop-off site, with 72,000 pounds of material collected.

Sponsors this year include the county, Urbana, Champaign, Savoy and Mahomet. Mack's Twin City Recycling, Urbana, is the contractor collecting and recycling the material.

While the event is billed as being for Champaign County residents, Monte said crews at the drop-off site don't ask for proof of residence.

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