New Illinois law requires the recycling of electronic devices

New products have recently been added to a list of items that must be recycled in Illinois: electronic waste.

As of Jan. 1, people who are done using their electronic devices must recycle items including televisions, monitors, printers and computers, rather than allow them to be disposed of in a landfill.

The Electronics Products Recycling and Reuse Act has been in effect and haulers will not be able to collect them, said Maggie Carson, spokeswoman at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. She said recycling these products could prevent further contamination to natural resources.

“It takes away sources of possible contamination of our groundwater and our soils,” Carson said. “The electronic components have several metals that can be considered hazardous and toxic when they reach into our groundwater and we want to take any measure possible to prevent that.”

Preventing pollution was not the only advantage of recycling electronic goods, she added.

“By reclaiming these precious metals that are in the electronics, we don’t have to go out and mine for more,” she said. “So it saves our natural resources and all the environmental problems that can come with that.”

For companies who work close with electronics, the University’s Research Park has decided to open an informational session about how to follow the law and how to safely and securely keep data.

Laura Bleill, marketing coordinator of Research Park, said the park is glad to help companies become more sustainable.

“I think it is one of our goals to have an operation that is very green,” Bleill said. “Being green is just part of our service to the community. So this (event) is an extension of that.” Mervis Industries will be visiting Research Park to discuss this law.

Mervis Industries has been involved with recycling for over 80 years in Illinois and Indiana and was invited to help companies with concerns about how to wipe their discs clean of private data.

Tom Falender, marketing director of Mervis Industries, said the company feels that the law was needed, especially nowadays with fast-paced technology.

“There are about 3 million devices out there that needs to be recycled. The numbers are really huge,” Falender said.

Bleill added that this will be a chance for companies to know exactly how to make sure their data is not exposed through recycling.

“I just think this is a great opportunity for our companies to understand what they need to know on recycling their electronics,” she said.