By Sharon A. Driscoll
(Wampsville, NY – Jan. 2012) The new electronic waste disposal law fashioned by the state Department of Environmental Conservation prohibiting the disposal of e-waste in solid or hazardous waste landfills took effect Jan. 1; however, Madison County has had a law on the books since November 2004 prohibiting the disposal of e-waste in the county’s landfill facility.
Madison County began a mandatory e-waste collection program long before anyone else in the state. The program prohibiting disposal of e-waste in the county’s landfill approved by the Madison County Board of Supervisors began its first full year in 2005.
Proper recycling of unwanted electronic equipment diverts thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators; keeps toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium from potentially contaminating the air, water and soil and conserves natural resources when valuable materials are reclaimed and reused, rather than using virgin materials.
When New York state enacted the Product Stewardship Law in April 2011, Madison County handed over the lion’s share of its e-waste collection program to LoJo’s Technology, a subsidiary of the Madison Cortland ARC. There is no cost to recycle e-waste at LoJo’s Technology.
LoJo’s, a regional e-waste recycling facility located at 327 Farrier Ave., Oneida, accepts e-waste Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon; however, to ensure proper recycling of e-waste and to ease the transition for those familiar with the county’s long standing e-waste collection program, the county agreed to continue an abbreviated e-waste collection at its four transfer stations, but must charge a small fee for handling and transport from the transfer stations to the Oneida facility.
The county charges one punch on the punch card system for each unit delivered for recycling.
As part of the newly enacted Product Stewardship Law, waste management facilities and transporters have a vital role in educating customers on the opportunities available for recycling electronic waste.
The Product Stewardship Law requires electronic manufacturers to take on the financial burden of recycling and disposing of the products it makes. Solid Waste and Sanitation Director James Zecca said the long-term goal of the law is to encourage manufactures to design products that can be easily recycled and reused and ensure the ‘end-of-life’ aspects of products are considered.
During the six-year e-waste collection program, Madison County has collected 478 tons of computer monitors and televisions for recycling. LoJo’s is seeing higher monthly numbers than those recorded by the Solid Waste Department, but LoJo’s is a regional e-waste recycling facility, taking in all types of electronics not only from Madison County, but also from surrounding counties.
The new e-waste collection system at LoJo’s Technology is working well, according to ARC Director Mike Hulland. From April to mid-November, 160 tons of e-waste has been collected and diverted from the waste stream. Included in that number are the receipts of a four-hour collection event co-sponsored by the Department of Solid Waste and LoJo’s Technology that took in a little less than 19 tons of e-waste for recycling.
Private and public waste haulers and solid or hazardous waste management facilities will no longer be allowed to dispose of electronic waste such as televisions, computers, computer peripherals, etc., in a solid or hazardous waste management facility in New York State, according to the DEC.
Sharon Driscoll is public information officer and recycling coordinator for Madison County.