The Tama County Landfill is now collecting electronics from Tama County households for recycling! The official grand opening of the program will be Saturday, October 19th from 9A.M. to noon at the landfill, 2872 K Avenue, Toledo. The first 50 computer monitors and/or televisions will be accepted at no charge (Limit 2 units per household). Electronics include computers towers, keyboards, cords, monitors, televisions, desktop copiers, fax machines, telephone answering machines, cell phones, electronic readers, tablets, and gaming electronics. If you have any question please call the landfill at 484-5061.
Why collect electronics for recycling? Electronic devices are everywhere; in your home, your car, at work, and yes even in your landfill. A large quantity up, to 75% by EPA estimates, of reusable or recyclable electronics end up being landfilled.
So, what harm is there in throwing away electronics? First, you may be throwing away money. Many electronic devices can be cleared of data and refurbished for a second user. You may be able to sell rather than dispose of your electronics. Age and condition of consumer electronics will be important for resale value. However, if your electronics devices are too old, they may be taken to an electronics recycler.
Second, nearly100% of the materials which make up electronics can be recovered. While each electronic device will have different components depending on its age, type, and use the bulk of computers and similar electronics are made primarily of recyclable plastics and recoverable metals. The plastics are easily removed and separated for new life as remolded products. The metal recovery is a bit more complicated because of the variety of metals in consumer electronics. The chassis of an average desktop PC is sheet metal containing aluminum and steel. Cables and wires containing copper, tin, silver, and gold are found in several critical parts such as the central processing unit (CPU) and circuit boards. More exotic metals such as neodymium, platinum, antimony and gallium which can be reclaimed are found in hard drives and electrical components.
The third reason to recycle your electronic devices is a bit more serious. Improper disposal of electronics can pose a health hazard to humans and the environment. There are more than a hundred compounds and elements which make up the composition of electronic equipment. Some of these compounds and individual elements can be toxic if released into the environment. Lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polyvinyl chloride, and phosphorous powders are just a few of the ingredients used to make electronics. While all these compounds and elements are safe inside your electronic device, they can cause environmental degradation if released.
Forth, think of the value of landfill space. Older electronic devices-TVs, monitors, and desk top computers are huge by comparison to the newer laptops, tablets, and internet ready cell phones. Space is an important commodity in a landfill. You can quickly fill up a closet with old electronics. Just imagine what can happen when whole communities empty those closets into the landfill.
According to the EPA the average American household has at least 24 electronic products. That number may seem high until you start taking stock of your own electronics. In addition to your laptop, router, printer, flat screen TV, DVD player and alarm clock you probably have a number of smaller devices such as cell phones each with a charger, multiple remote controls, timers, etc. As I write this there are seven devices on my own desk.
So, what can you do when you upgrade? Where can you take that old cell phone, computer, printer, or flat screen? Here are some options. One: if you are tech savvy or know someone who is; clear your data, clean up your device, and sell it to a second user. Your device is more marketable if you have the original box and manuals. There are many websites where you can enter information about your device and determine its value. Two: some devices can be traded in when you buy your new one. Check with your consumer electronics retailer for take back programs. Three: you can drop your electronics at the Tama County Landfill. There is a reasonable charge for monitors, televisions, and large printers and copiers. All other electronic materials are accepted at no charge. Everything received at the landfill will be refurbished or recycled by a reputable electronics recycler. The Tama County Landfill currently contracts with Midwest Electronic Recovery, an R2 certified recycler, in Walford, Iowa.
The East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), on behalf of the Tama County Solid Waste Disposal Commission, applied for an Iowa DNR, Solid Waste Alternative Program (SWAP) grant to assist the landfill in constructing a building to store collected electronic materials for recycling. Please, join us at the landfill on October 19th from 9A.M. to noon and bring your old electronics for recycling.