DeKalb receives grant for e-recycling

By Ryan Chodora

In an effort to celebrate Earth Month, Gov. Pat Quinn has allocated about $98,000 in electronic waste recycling grants for 49 counties, including DeKalb County.

DeKalb County will receive $2,000 in grant money which will go toward advertising its electronic waste recycling program.

“It’s to be used to help the public find out about the landfill ban for e-waste and to get the word out about how residents can recycle electronics in accordance with the law,” said Christel Springmire, DeKalb County solid waste coordinator.

Springmire said the money will be spent on adding inserts in newsletters the county distributes.

“That will take all of the $2,000 and then some,” Springmire said.

According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) website, Public Act 97-0287 – Electronic Products Recycling & Reuse Act, a list of items were banned from landfills as of Jan. 1, 2012. This list includes televisions, computers and VCRs. Illinois is currently one of 20 states that have banned electronic waste from municipal landfills.

“Electronics and computers are complicated machines,” said IEPA spokesman Andrew Mason. “They have a lot of different parts in them, and some of them can contain hazardous materials like mercury or lead or other heavy metals. When they go into a landfill they can seep into the water supply, and we don’t want that.”

Some waste will be disassembled and resold and other waste will be shredded and smelted into new material for repurposing.

Mason said some of the repurposed electronics will be sold to used electronic stores or donated to non-profits and churches.

“The more of these industrial metals that we can recycle and use again means that we’re taking less of them out of the ground,” said Public Works Director T.J. Moore. “Usually they come out of the ground in places where the local mining population may not be treated very well.”