35,000 pounds of island e-waste have been recycled

It’s almost a year since Washington state began one of the most successful recycling programs for waste electronics. Manufacturers who sell televisions, monitors, computers and laptops in our state cover the full cost of the program.

By the end of November, almost 36 million pounds of electronics were collected and recycled in our state free of charge to households, small businesses, charities, schools and small governments! About 35,000 pounds have been recycled in San Juan County so far.

Instead of burying electronics in a landfill, the “E-Cycle Washington” program recycles about 99 percent of the components of these products — heavy metals, glass, plastics, steel, copper, aluminum — back into production through approved processors. (The average computer monitor contains 4-8 pounds of toxic lead.) The program also aims to prevent electronic waste from going to countries with a history of poor environmental stewardship and human rights.

Did you get or give electronics this holiday season? Donate your old ones to either of the two currently registered collection centers for the E-Cycle Washington program on the islands: The Exchange (376-4887), located at the Orcas Island solid waste facility; and Consignment Treasures (370-5562) on Roche Harbor Road, San Juan Island. It’s a good idea to call first to check on their open hours and on accepted materials. Consignment Treasures can recycle printers, fax and scan machines, cables, mice, keyboards, and other peripherals for a small fee.

It is recommended that you clear sensitive data from your hard drive before donating working electronics or recycling outdated and non-working ones. Learn more about disk-wiping software (some available at no cost) by visiting www.techsoup.org.

Helen Venada
San Juan County Solid Waste Division