February 26, 2015

Bills help local electronic recycling efforts

DECATUR – Officials from the Macon County Environmental Management Department will keep a close eye on several new plans in Springfield that could save money recycling electronics.

The amendments in the General Assembly would make changes to a 2010 act that requires manufacturers of electronics who sell products in Illinois to be responsible to provide recycling options, equating to fees for the amount that they were required to recycle.

However, the current threshold at which companies must meet a recycling goal of 50 percent of their sales from the previous year was not enough.

“We noticed companies would withhold the fees once the manufacturer goals were met,” said Deb Garrett, director of the county’s environment management department.

With the withholding of fees for the remaining part of the fiscal year, recyclers were forced to absorb the costs to recycle electronics at established collection sites and events, as many counties already had collection events scheduled and collection sites set up before the money stopped coming in.

The plan in Springfield would increase the recycling goal from 50 percent of sales to 80 percent of sales.

It would come as a break for counties such as Macon County, where the number of electronics recycled has been significantly increasing in recent years.

According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, there was more than 47 million pounds of electronic recycling in 2013, up from the 42.6 million pounds the previous year.

In Macon County, 315,264 pounds of electronics were recycled in 2014, which is down from the 423,669 pounds recycled the previous year.

The numbers do not include other recyclers such as Best Buy and other electronics stores that may provide their own programs.

An issue brought up by local officials is the outlets to recycle projection and broken televisions have diminished, and there are no outlets in Macon County for broken televisions. Garrett said this has become a growing problem as people dump them in places such as the side of the road.

“They collect them at the highway department and end up paying quite a bit to have them taken care of,” she said, specify the cost.

The plans, listed in the General Assembly as Senate Bill 797 and House Bill 1455, would include all covered electronic devices, including televisions, printers, fax machines, computers and electronic keyboards.

February 26, 2015 12:01 am  •