CHICAGO -- Since NBC 5 started doing going green stories, one of the most popular questions asked is, "Where can I recycle my computer or cell phone?"
More than 93,000 tons of "e-waste" will accumulate in Illinois this year, and by 2010, that number is estimated to jump to more than 117,000 tons.
"E-waste is any electronic items, computers, office equipment, printers, fax, DVDs and CD players that people don't want anymore," said Mike Mitchell, director for Illinois Recycling Coalition. "Throwing it in the trash is not a good option anymore," said Bob Wolfe, regional vice president of Staples. "There's lead, cadmium, mercury and all of that (in there that) pollutes the land and air and water." So instead of trashing it, consider taking it to Staples. "It's really easy," said Wolfe. "People can bring their computer in, they can bring a printer, monitor, any office item, and for $10, we'll recycle it for them. Cell phones and smaller items are all free." Since May 2007, staples has recycled more than 35 tons of e-waste -- and that's just in Illinois. Staples is now partnering with the Illinois Recycling Coalition, making it easy and safe for Chicagoans to recycle their e-waste. And what about computers that might have old but personal and valuable information on them? "We'll take care of it for you, we'll recycle it properly," said Wolfe. "Don't worry about your identity being stolen." And since Thursday is "America Recycles" day -- there's not a better time to do it.