Why Does it Matter?
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest growing segment of the waste steam—40 million computers and televisions are discarded in the US annually; 1.2 million from Hoosiers! There are toxic substances, including mercury, lead and cadmium, in many of the devices; materials we do not want in our soil, air or water!
While they are functional, these laptops, smartphones, tablets, monitors and the like, are a wonderful part of life in the 21st Century. They keep us entertained, engaged and connected. But once they no longer work or become “obsolete” and are discarded, they can pose a significant risk to human and environmental health. So, the proper handling and recycling of e-waste is critical. But, the cost to recycle electronics can keep many people from doing it.
Fortunately, in 2009 a state law was enacted that makes the electronics manufacturers responsible for providing recycling programs for the public. The law also prohibits households, small businesses and public schools from discarding many electronics in their standard trash.
What Should You Do?
So, what does the new Indiana Electronic Waste (E-waste) Law (IC 13-20.5) mean for you?
First, you should certainly abide by the requirement that prohibits households, small businesses and public schools from discarding electronics with their standard trash. The ban includes computers (including laptops), computer monitors, printers and televisions.
Also, make the most of the more robust e-waste recycling programs available as a result of this new law. The District accepts electronics for recycling during our Tox-Away Day events (the 2012 dates are available now on our website…). Also, some local retailers, including Goodwill, Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot offer e-waste recycling as a service to the public. Periodically, e-waste recycling events are offered by various town and other local organizations; watch for these collections and take advantage
Interested in finding out more about the Indiana Electronic Waste Law? Visit in.gov/recycle for the nuts and bolts from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Great information is also available from the Indiana Recycling Coalition at escrapindiana.org.
As always, if you have a question about electronics recycling, or anything else recycling, reuse or disposal related, please contact the District. We’re always happy to help!
NEXT EDITION Our focus on e-waste this month will continue in our next edition of 365 Every Day Counts where we’ll give you some ideas on how to buy “greener” next time you’re in the market for a new computer, television or cell phone. We’ll even let you know what electronics makers rank the best when it comes to environmental responsibility.