In our view: Remember to E-Cycle

Keep those unwanted TVs and computers out of landfills by using disposal centers

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WHERE TO TAKE IT

IMS Electronics Recycling, 2401 St. Francis Lane, Vancouver.

Central Transfer and Recycling Center, 11034 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver.

West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road, Vancouver.

Washougal Transfer Station, 4020 S. Grant St., Washougal.

Working electronics can also be taken to donation centers such as Goodwill.

ON THE WEB:

Check out Clark County’s recycling index or E-Cycle Washington.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Santa Claus and a modern technology that advances at breakneck speed, Christmas presents become outdated or obsolete in fewer years than many of us ever imagined. Just ask the guy who invested his life’s savings in the VCR industry. Ouch!

If Santa were green (environmentally speaking), he would do us all a favor and haul away as much stuff as he brings each year. Alas, even in these tough economic times, families are finding all kinds of unwanted electronics gear piled up in garages or crammed into closets.

It might surprise many people to learn that — when it comes to old, unwanted electronic equipment — there’s a “re-” word that’s even more friendly to the environment than “recycle.” It’s “reuse.” If your TV or computer still works, why not let someone else use it? That’s the recommendation from the state Department of Ecology. Contact a charity or nonprofit and see if they can use or resell your old stuff.

The DOE also recommends taking advantage of the state’s “E-Cycle” program, which offers free disposal of unwanted electronics. Washington has emerged as one of the leading states in recycling electronics, thanks to the collaborative efforts of electronics manufacturers, plus a bill passed by the Legislature in 2009. Since the program began, more than 100 million pounds of discarded electronics have been kept out of landfills. Check out the accompanying list of places in Clark County where you can take old electronics for disposal.

The state’s approved recycling facilities are part of an overall system that includes disassembling and recycling most of the metals, plastics and glass found in TVs, computers and monitors. According to http://www.ecyclewashington.org, only about 2 percent of what’s taken in at the disposal centers winds up in landfills. (Most of that is particle board from cabinet TVs). Also, many toxic materials such as batteries, leaded glass and circuit boards are extracted and disposed of according to strict standards.

Clark County residents deserve praise for recycling 2.6 million pounds of electronics this year through November. That total surpassed the 2.25 million pounds recycled locally through all of 2010.

And statewide, more than 41 million pounds of used electronics are expected to be collected this year. As expected, the largest collections are in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. About two-thirds of the weight total has been TVs.

Here are a couple of tips to remember: First, the E-Cycle program does not include accessories such as keyboards, mice and printers. Disposal centers will accept televisions, computers, monitors, portables or laptops including “tablets,” and e-readers. Also, E-Cycle is offered to all households, small businesses, schools and school districts, small governments, special-purpose districts and charities, but not large businesses. For more information, visit the DOE website.