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Local Editorials

SVM EDITORIAL: County fills recycling gap for electronics

We salute the Lee County Highway Department’s electronics recycling program. The county saw a need, acted to fill it, and has provided an important public service.

Many Lee County residents recycle their household trash, putting paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and glass in appropriate containers for curbside pickup.

Electronics recycling, however, isn’t as easy – particularly after the closure of Secure Recycling Services in Dixon at the end of 2016. It previously provided a place where technology trash could be safely and responsibly discarded.

What’s a county resident to do?

Electronics gear is great, of course, but the units don’t last forever – or they get superseded by the next “must-have” models, and the former “must-have” models become quickly expendable.

Enter the Lee County Highway Department to the rescue.

The Highway Department began offering a free – that’s right, free – electronics recycling program in May.

All people had to do was drive to the department’s headquarters in Amboy on weekdays and drop off their acceptable residential (not business) electronics items.

On the “acceptable” list are computers, monitors, printers, laptops, copiers, modems, telephones, cellphones, scanners, TVs, VCRs, stereos, camcorders, cameras, electronic motors, answering machines, hand-held electronics, adding machines, faxes, calculators, shredders and pagers.

People should realize that not all items that might appear to be in the electronics category are accepted for this recycling program.

Unacceptable items include microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, dehumidifiers, white goods, air conditioners, smoke detectors, fluorescent bulbs, washers and dryers, dishwashers, vacuums, batteries, fans, stoves, blenders, and toasters.

What’s been the response to the county’s electronics recycling program?

How does five semitrailer loads of electronics collected in 6 months sound?

Yeah. We were impressed, too.

David Anderson, county engineer, said the county pays Advanced Technology Recycling of Pontiac $400 to accept a loaded semitrailer.

That’s reasonable for the county’s budget, and very reasonable for county residents, who don’t have to pay a cent to rid themselves of any electronics that appear on the “acceptable” list.

The approach of winter weather prompted the county to suspend the free electronics recycling service for the time being.

But never fear. Collections will resume the first week of April.

We salute the Lee County Highway Department for seeing a need, acting to fill it, and providing an important public service.

Joining our salute are scores of county residents who helped to fill those five semitrailers with cast-off electronic gear.

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