February 8, 2011

Tech Recyclers Look To Build Permanent Presence


Volunteers swarm over a trailer loaded with electronics last summer during an electronics recycling event in Champaign in 2010.


URBANA – An electronics recycling contractor that ran four one-day recycling events in Champaign last year is looking into establishing a permanent presence here.


And the first countywide residential electronics recycling event of 2011 has been scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon March 5 at The News-Gazette’s distribution center on Apollo Drive in the Apollo Industrial Park in north Champaign. Items that will be accepted at the event include televisions, computers, computer monitors, keyboards, mice, cables, printers and scanners, VCRs and DVD players, mobile phones, fax machines, MP3 players, video-game consoles, and microwave ovens.


Meanwhile, the Champaign County collection events last year were so successful that one of them established a single-day record for the largest volume of residential electronics ever collected by the contractor, Vintage Tech Recyclers Inc. of Romeoville.


An Aug. 7 collection brought in 202,955 pounds of computers, monitors, televisions, printers and other items, according to Seth Smith, an environmental representative with Vintage Tech.


“It came up to 203,000 pounds, which in the history of Vintage Tech Recyclers was the largest one-day collection event that we’ve had,” he said. “We did 54 one-day collection events last year. In 2009, it was probably about 40. We’ve been doing these events for five years.


“I think the record before that was probably about 180,000 pounds, and that was in Lombard in 2009. But this one last year in Champaign took off and in five hours we collected 203,000 pounds of electronics, which is just outstanding.”


Vintage Tech conducts one-day events all over Illinois, from the St. Louis area to the Chicago suburbs, Smith said.


Overall, the four quarterly events in Champaign County last year resulted in the collection of 582,051 pounds of electronics.


That’s why the firm is looking at establishing a permanent foothold here, he said.


“We’re really looking to expand the program, and how can we make it a more permanent facility. There are some options we’re looking at now to see what we can get it up to on a consistent level,” Smith said.


Smith said his company could supply a firm with boxes and pallets in exchange for storage space.


“Once a truckload is reached, we’d pull all the filled boxes and we’d process the material free of charge,” he said. “What that does is it increases the awareness of the residents there and really turns Champaign County into a progressive county in terms of recycling programs.”


Electronics recycling will become a bigger issue after Jan. 1, 2012, when Illinois bans used electronics in landfills.


“When the landfill ban hits in 2012, your residents would have somewhere to go,” Smith said. “They won’t be searching for that quarterly event. They have somewhere to go every day to recycle. You could literally reach a million pounds with a permanent program. The volume is there.”


There are two other options for residential electronics recycling, according to Susan Monte, Champaign County’s recycling coordinator. One is the Marco Steel facility at 302 S. Market St., C, which collects most types of electronics (but not console TVs, speakers or microwave ovens) at no charge between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The other is the Goodwill outlet at 912 W. Anthony Drive., C, which collects computers, monitors and computer parts (but not TVs or microwaves) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.