Oct. 26--Skagit County residents are doing their part to keep most discarded electronics out of the solid waste stream by participating in an intensive recycling partnership.
Electronics often contain toxic materials such as lead and cadmium that are harmful to the environment, as well as reusable resources like aluminum and copper that are wasted if tossed into a landfill.
The state Department of Ecology announced this week that the nationally recognized E-Cycle Washington program has collected 200 million pounds of electronics -- such as televisions, computers and monitors -- in less than five years.
That's the equivalent weight of 361 fully loaded Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Washington's program is a cooperative effort between businesses and local government, funded entirely by manufacturers of the electronics collected, Ecology said in a news release.
The program collects TVs, computers, monitors, laptops, tablets, e-readers and portable DVD players and is free for households, small businesses, school districts, small governments and charities at authorized collection sites.
The electronics are disassembled. Metals, plastics and glass are recycled into new products, reducing the amount of material heading to landfills to about 2 percent, according to Ecology's E-Cycle Washington website.
In its first year in 2009, the program collected 38.5 million pounds. The amount has grown each year since, with 2013 collections expected to hit 46 million pounds, which equals nearly 7 pounds per person across the state.
In Skagit County, 57,978 pounds of electronics were collected through the program in September, with a total of 479,501 so far for 2013, according to a report from the Washington Materials Management and Financing Authority. The authority is the state's manufacturer, board-directed authority for some electronic recycling.
"E-Cycle Washington has been a huge success with Washington consumers, and it is a great example of business and government coming together to reduce waste and protect our environment," Ecology director Maia Bellon said in the press release. "Hats off to electronics manufacturers for taking the lead on this effort and to Washingtonians for once again showing the country it's cool to be green."
(c)2013 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.)
Visit the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) at www.goskagit.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services