As technology evolves, businesses keep up with the latest trends, upgrading equipment to the latest speeds, features and capabilities. With this turnover of tech, what happens to the old equipment? A 2007 report showed that 3 million tons of electronic products became obsolete, yet only 14 percent of those products were recycled, making electronics the fastest-growing waste stream. The metals from electronics, which include gold, cadmium, lead and silver, can threaten groundwater quality when sent to the landfill and can also be valuable reclaimed resources.
In 2012, Illinois passed a law making it illegal for businesses and individuals to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste) in the landfill, and banned from Illinois' 48 active landfills (Public Act 97-0287).
We can no longer just "throw out" electronics. Some examples of electronics are telephones, radios, computers, televisions and cellphones. Visit the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's website (http://www.epa.illinois.gov/) for more information and a complete list of electronics that must be recycled.
Our central Illinois counties host electronic recycling events each year.
It is advised to come early and be prepared for long lines to drop off your e-waste. When there is not a collection event planned, there are many local haulers that can take e-waste. The city of Urbana's "Where Do I Take It?" web page (http://urbanaillinois.us/residents/recycling-program-u-cycle/where-do-i-take-it) lists various options for recycling electronics. Finally, reach out to your existing hauler to see if it will recycle electronics for your business. Feel free to reach out to IGBA as well with any questions.
The Illinois Green Business Association is a nonprofit organization in Champaign that offers certification and green business services. You can contact the IGBA at www.illinoisGBA.org or call 217-531-2179.