"E-waste" ban begins on Saturday in county
Wondering what to do with your broken TV, discarded computer and obsolete cellphone? Don't put them in the trash. Starting Saturday, it will...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Wondering what to do with your broken TV, discarded computer and obsolete cellphone?
Don't put them in the trash. Starting Saturday, it will be illegal in King County to throw them in the garbage or dump them at transfer stations.
The county is joining Seattle and Snohomish County in banning the disposal of electronic devices because they contain significant amounts of hazardous chemicals.
The picture tube in a TV or a computer monitor typically contains 3 to 5 pounds of lead, and electronic circuit boards have additional lead, cadmium and mercury, the King County Solid Waste Division reports.
Snohomish County banned "e-waste" in November 2002.
There was some good news for consumers: Staples yesterday became the first large chain store to begin recycling those difficult-to-get-rid-of devices.
Staples' 14 stores in King and Snohomish counties will now accept computer devices for a fee: $8 for a computer, $12 for a monitor and $8 for peripherals such as copiers, faxes and scanners. The company won't accept TVs, radios or stereo equipment.
No more "e-waste"
King County Solid Waste Division will ban dumping desk and laptop computers, monitors, TVs and cellphones in garbage bins or at transfer stations effective Saturday. To find out where to take such items, call a recycler on the list of businesses participating in the Take it Back Network. Fees and types of devices accepted vary. The network is at www.takeitbacknetwork.org
Quick computer facts
• An estimated 1,600 computers become obsolete in Washington every day.
• Twenty percent of the weight in the glass of a computer monitor is lead.
• Computers and other "e-waste" account for 70 percent of heavy metals, including toxic mercury and cadmium, in U.S. landfills.
• As much as 80 percent of "e-waste" from this country is shipped to developing nations in Asia.
Sources: King County Solid Waste Division, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and the Basel Action Network
Pierce County solid-waste planner Sego Jackson said Staples stores here are the first big-box retailers in the United States to recycle e-waste on an ongoing basis.
Staples joins the Take It Back Network, whose members have been recycling electronic devices since 1999.
Network members have kept more than 6 million pounds of heavy metals out of landfills by recycling more than 135,000 TVs, computers and monitors since 2003, according to the county Solid Waste Division.
Businesses in the network must agree to recycle electronics responsibly and to not send any equipment to developing countries, where toxic dumping has become a major environmental problem.
Seattle Times reporter Lisa Chiu contributed to this report.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
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