E-Cycle Washington helps make for 'green' holidays

December 9, 2011 

OLYMPIA — Are you buying electronics as gifts this holiday season?

If so, you can be more “green” than red by making sure the electronics you replace are reused or recycled rather than tossed in the garbage.

The E-Cycle Washington program provides free recycling for unwanted TVs, computers, monitors, and e-readers. Through E-cycle, many fully functional computers and TVs get a second life through sales at charities or through donations.

Washington’s E-Cycle program for electronics recycling will be three years old at the end of December. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) estimates this year’s collection total will be 41 million pounds, a record high for a year’s collection of TVs, computers and monitors turned in by consumers for recycling.

Ecology officials estimate the three-year total for the program will be about 119 million pounds. During the first three years, that translated to 5.9 pounds of recycled electronics per person per year. Televisions make up 64 percent of the total.

The 119 million pounds of electronics recycled since 2009 Washington has saved over 1.8 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy. This is equivalent to conserving more than 16,000 households’ annual energy consumption or over 300,000 barrels of oil.

Funded entirely by the manufacturers of these electronics, E-Cycle Washington is a prime example of a cooperative business/government effort that is making a difference for the environment and for consumers.

Before E-Cycle Washington existed, many electronics went into our landfills, taking with them resources such as metals that could be recycled – and toxics such as lead that can eventually pollute our environment and threaten human health. The result was a potential mountain of wasted resources with toxic run-off.

As more and more households upgrade to flat-screen TVs and new computer monitors, Ecology reminds consumers that their old electronics can easily be kept out of the garbage and out of the landfill.

“In addition to TVs, computers, and monitors, we’ve added tablet computers and e-readers to the list of products that can be recycled for free through E-Cycle Washington," Miles Kuntz, manager of the E-Cycle Washington program, said in a news release. "Ecology wants to remind people who are buying these electronics – it’s the season to be ‘green.’ Please recycle your old electronics.”

* To find one of the 275 E-Cycle Washington drop-off locations or services near you, go to www.ecyclewashington.org.

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