A large Chicago area electronics recycling program that had announced it was closing effective May 1 will continue to operate through the end of the year.
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) Board of Directors reversed its decision to close its five remaining collection sites after its April 14 meeting. Fifteen Lake County units of local government donated the approximately $62,000 needed to keep the program running through 2016.
“The Village of Grayslake was really the leader for this effort by starting the discussion on keeping the program going and offering a $20,000 contribution to fund it,” said SWALCO Executive Director Walter Willis. “Long term the SWALCO Board will have to weigh its options for next year and beyond.”
SWALCO had earlier said it was discontinuing its program due to a lack of funds. The agency said it was faced with an unanticipated mandate to pay for collecting electronics.
It is against Illinois law to send e-waste to a landfill. Instead, the law requires manufacturers to collect and recycle a certain amount of e-waste annually.
A SWALCO press release said the agency hopes to amend the Illinois Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act. Under the state law, local government is not required to provide collection services, but since the law was implemented in 2010, numerous county and municipal governments have provided collection services and residents have relied on those programs to recycle TVs, printers, computers and fifteen other types of electronic devices.
According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, some local governments chose to collect e-waste as a service to their residents. Their intent was to have the cost of those collections covered by the manufacturers who needed to meet collection and recycling goals.
However, commodity prices are down. SWALCO said it has been subsidizing its electronics recycling program with local tax dollars.
The Illinois EPA maintains an online list of all current registered collection locations throughout the state. Click on the link below for residential e-waste collection sites:
The Illinois EPA encourages residents to call the provided numbers in advance to determine if a particular item or device is accepted.