BEL AIR, MD (October 27, 2001) – Thanks to the actions of local residents, truck loads of used and discarded computers and televisions will not find their way into Harford County’s landfill, saving valuable space.
Citizens joined Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Jane T. Nishida and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Regional Administrator Tom Voltaggio today to pull the plug on outdated electronic equipment, computers and televisions by participating in Maryland’s kick-off of the EPA Region III States eCycling Project. The eCycling project aims to offer a long-term solution to end-of-life electronics.
Nationally, more than 20 million personal computers became obsolete in 1998. That number is expected to grow to an estimated 315 million by 2004.
“Trashing old computer electronics just doesn’t compute,” Secretary Nishida said. “Obsolete electronics contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. If not handled properly, these toxic substances can be released into the environment. eCycling helps Marylanders get a head start in tackling the issues associated with this rapidly growing part of the nation’s waste stream.”
In an effort to provide a long-term solution, EPA in conjunction with Maryland and its sister agencies in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia and the electronics industry launched eCycling, the region’s first-of-a-kind partnership which will allow residents the opportunity to reuse or recycle old computer equipment and televisions.
"We are proud of the progress being made by the eCycling partnership," said Thomas C. Voltaggio, EPA Region III deputy regional administrator. “It's great being here to witness one of the first eCycling events in the country. But, it's even better to participate by dropping off my outdated computer parts, which have been sitting in my basement collecting dust. Knowing that they will be reused or recycled is terrific.”
Today, Harford County residents brought car and mini-van loads of unwanted TVs, computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mouses and other computer peripherals to the Harford Waste Disposal and Recycling Center in Street.
“Harford residents have demonstrated their commitment to reducing waste by producing one of the highest recycling rates in the state, so eCycling is a natural extension of our already successful programs,” said Harford County Executive Jim Harkins. “To further the cause we plan to accept ‘ecyclables’ on a quarterly basis.”
The collected computer electronics were sorted and will be sent to Subtractions, an electronics demanufacturing company based in Jessup. Subtractions will break the machinery down into its component parts such as: circuit boards, various plastics, central processing unit housings, cathode ray tubes [from monitors and TVs], and separate precious metals from more ordinary types.
The new eCycling program is a year-long project to evaluate different models of electronics collection and recycling systems. The data generated from the project will guide the development of a cost effective, sustainable collection system that will remove end-of-life computer equipment and televisions from the municipal waste stream.
Over the next year, additional eCycling opportunities will become available for Marylanders to drop off their old computer equipment and televisions at public and private locations across the state. Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties already are offering permanent eCycling collection sites.
Call (800) 633-6101, extension 3314 to find out if an eCycling collection is being scheduled near you. Or go to MDE’s website at: mde.maryland.gov and scroll down to the eCycling link to find out more.