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To all the responsible residents who turned in their electronics at any one of Dunn County’s seven Area Collection Stations as well as the Transfer Station and Recycling Center instead of throwing them on the side of the road or in the garbage, your efforts help make a difference. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Recycling just one computer and one monitor is the equivalent to preventing 1.35 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released. The recycling of one television prevents four to eight pounds of lead from being added to the waste stream.”
Within the past few weeks, you may have noticed that the large piles of electronics have disappeared from area collection sites. Recently, new Recycling and Support Specialist, Mee Yang organized an electronics clean up by going around to each site with a small team to pick up electronics considered “e-waste.” The term “e-waste” is applied to consumer electronic equipment that is no longer wanted. Items that fall under e-waste include computers, printers, televisions, digital cameras, VCRs, cell phones, fax machines, stereos, VHS tapes, video games and more.
All items were stacked by hand onto pallets and consolidated in gaylord boxes before being transported back to the transfer station in Menomonie where they were then loaded onto a trailer and shipped to Dynamic Recycling out of Onalaska, Wisconsin. Upon receiving the electronics, Dynamic Recycling then recycles 100 percent of the materials by dismantling them for parts, scrap or sold to other markets in China and India.
Electronic waste contains lead, copper, heavy metals and other toxic substances harmful to the environment. For example, cathode ray tube (CRT) glass, the video display component of an electronic device usually found in a computer monitor or television, generally contains high enough concentrations of lead that the glass is regulated as hazardous waste when disposed of. CRT glass was once easily recycled into new CRT glass; however, the demand for new CRTs has collapsed in favor of new flat panel technologies.
Due to a loophole in legislation that limit the number of pounds manufacturers were required to reimburse electronic recyclers each year, many recycling facilities, were hesitant in accepting electronics creating a backlog of electronics piling up at county collection sites for over a year. Because of the weight of materials, manufacturers met their requirement quotas early, therefore became more selective on what they accept for reimbursement. The Dunn County Solid Waste Division continues to provide service and accept electronics while other agencies discontinued or went the route of once a year electronic collection events. Solid Waste has been seeking other avenues to recycle electronics and just recently partnered with a new company, Dynamic Recycling.
To increase your impact, only buy what you need, reuse electronics that still work, and finally, recycle electronics at the end of their useful life cycle to help reduce e-waste. If you have electronics that are still usable, you can list them on NextWorth or Gazelle, online electronic material exchanges, or donate them to your favorite charity such as Cell Phones for Soldiers. Be sure to call your charity of choice ahead of time to find out what types of electronics they are willing to accept or are in need of. For more information on electronic recycling and prices, visit Dunn County Solid Waste Division’s website at www.co.dunn.wi.us or call 715-232-4017.