Sunday, July 18, 2004

Electronic gear can be recycled


Programs offer free, safe disposal alternative

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

With 250 million computers in the U.S. on the road to oblivion by next year, several movements abound to keep the devices - and the mercury, lead and other harmful chemicals inside them - from being scrapped in landfills.

Office Depot stores recently announced a nationwide, in-store electronics recycling program that will run through Sept. 6. For no charge, people can drop off desktop computers, notebooks, keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, digital cameras, fax machines, copiers, televisions and just about any other electronic device for proper disposal.

"We look forward to this program increasing convenient opportunities for electronics recycling," said Thomas Dunne, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services has offered computer recycling since 2002.

An event in April collected 240 tons of computer equipment. More is expected at the next recycling event, Aug. 26-28 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds.

Jeff Aluotto, manager of the Hamilton County Solid Waste District, said it's important to dispose of electronics properly.

"No matter how good a landfill is, there's always a chance that the material inside a computer could find its way into the groundwater," Aluotto said. "We're only dealing with computers at our event, because we don't get charged for computers. At some point in the future, the program will probably evolve."

At next month's event, individuals and companies from Northern Kentucky and surrounding Ohio counties also are welcome to drop off old computers.

But there are some rules.

Businesses or others with large loads of computers must register in advance. Pick-up services are available for a fee.

The registration deadline is July 30. Information about how to register and how to package materials can be found at www.hcdoes.org/sw/2004compregister.htm.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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