February 21, 2015

New electronics recycling contract would cover most costs

NORMAL — Vintage Tech, the electronic recycler for Normal, has pledged to recycle up to 282 tons of products from February through November — for free.

“Based on last year’s numbers, that could get us through the year,” said Wayne Aldrich, Normal’s public works director.

Vintage Tech recently learned how much financial assistance it will receive from electronic manufacturers this year and determined how it will be divided among its customers. Electronic manufacturers are required to provide funding to recycle electronics because they no longer can be placed in a landfill.

Last year, the money provided to Vintage Tech ran out by September, forcing the company to charge Normal. The town has paid nearly $46,000 for recycling the products since that time.

Because Normal accepts electronics from individuals in Bloomington, Normal or McLean County, Michael Brown, executive director of the Ecology Action Center suggested the cost be shared by the three entities.

The Normal City Council recently approved an intergovernmental agreement providing for that cost division. Bloomington City Council will consider it Monday and the McLean County Board is expected to consider it March 17. The pact divides the cost by population: Bloomington would pay 45 percent; Normal, 31 percent; and McLean County, 24 percent.

Aldrich said because the pact with Vintage Tech starts with February, if approved, the three government entities would need to split the $8,692 recycling cost the town incurred in January. As long as the town does not collect more than 282 tons through November, there would not be any additional charges.

The town will negotiate a new recycling contract for December and beyond.

Meanwhile, there is a movement by some state legislators to increase the amount of money electronic manufacturers have to provide to recyclers so it would pay for the recycling costs year-round.

The most expensive part of electronic recycling comes with the older televisions and computer monitors that have cathode ray tubes. Home Sweet Home Ministries had to stop accepting CRT electronics last year because of the high recycling cost.

Matt Drat, development and communications manager for Home Sweet Home, said the agency still has not found a vendor who will recycle CRTs free of charge. Home Sweet Home has more than 20,000 pounds of previously collected CRTs that it needs to recycle.

“We’re looking for alternative vendors for all of our electronics,” Drat said.

Home Sweet Home still accepts other electronics but not CRTs.

February 21, 2015 6:30 am • Mary Ann Ford