Environmental Protection

E-Cycle Washington Coordinates Collection

E-Cycle Washington, a new program that started on Jan. 1, allows free and convenient recycling of TVs, desktop and laptop computers, and monitors only, according to a Jan. 12 press release.

The makers of these products are providing about 200 collection sites around the state. State residents, small businesses, school districts, small government agencies, and charities can bring these electronic items to the sites.

The program is a permanent and ongoing addition to current recycling opportunities available to residents.

The state was one of the first to pass a law (the Electronic Product Recycling Act) in 2006 requiring electronics manufacturers to set up a free recycling program for their products. Product-makers have gotten together to finance and develop a plan for the program, including collection, transportation, and recycling. The organization operating the program is the Washington Materials Management & Financing Authority (WMMFA).

The law makes manufacturers responsible for taking back the products they produce that contain toxic material. It also gives consumers responsibility for bringing in these products for safe and responsible recycling, rather than throwing them away to end up in a landfill.

The Department of Ecology sets standards for the program and oversees regulation.

"Washington can be proud of this program that helps us take responsibility for the products we make, buy, and use," said Ecology Director Jay Manning. "We in the Pacific Northwest have a strong recycling culture, but old electronics have posed real challenges. This program retains our leadership in recycling, while at the same time maintaining our position at the cutting edge of technology."

Electronic products contain heavy metals and chemicals at hazardous levels making them difficult to dispose of safely. For example, depending on its size, a TV's cathode ray tube contains an estimated four to eight pounds of lead.

To find a list of collection sites, go to www.ecyclewashington.org.

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