Electronics collection prepares for 2012 ban

Champaign County will be hosting its final electronics recycling collection of the year this Saturday, as a statewide ban on the dumping of certain electronics into landfills approaches.

This will be the last of four electronics recycling events held by the county this year. An amendment to the Illinois Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act will ban 17 items from landfills beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

The law will now ban a larger number of electronic equipment from entering state landfills, said Courtney Rushforth, Urbana recycling coordinator. Items include televisions, computer monitors, printers and video game consoles, among others. In addition, all manufacturers of these products must now register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and meet an annual recycling goal.

The act, which was passed in 2008, attempts to limit the release of lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and other materials often found in electronics into the environment. The amendment to the act increases the number of banned products from four to 17.

The county’s recycling collection program is in response to the upcoming changes, said John Ruffin, Champaign neighborhood services coordinator. The collection gives residents options for their unwanted electronics.

“This is an opportunity to offload any electronics equipment they may want to get rid of,” Ruffin said.

The collected items will then be taken to a recycling facility in Romeoville, Ill., for inventory and weighing, according to a press release from Champaign County planner Susan Monte. There, items will either be refurbished or dismantled.

Rushforth said that based on positive resident response, the program has been a success. Last year, 291 tons of electronics were collected; as of today, the 2011 total stands at about 120 tons.

She said Urbana will be putting up more information online and elsewhere very soon as to where residents can take their unwanted electronics after the ban is instated.

“We anticipate getting more phone calls as the ban approaches,” Rushforth said. “We want our residents to be better informed of this ban, though.”

The collection will run Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the News-Gazette Distribution Center, 3202 Apollo Drive in Champaign.