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I love trash!”

Say what you want, but I have always loved garbage. I worked in garbage for many years, but have made the tran­si­tion to Sus­tain­abil­ity Coor­di­na­tor for the Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity. I have not aban­doned my first love, but have sim­ply broad­ened my horizons.

Garbage, and by this I sac­ri­le­giously include recy­cling, still cap­ti­vates me. I recently learned some inter­est­ing details about Howard County’s elec­tron­ics recy­cling pro­gram and now feel com­pelled to share them with a wider audience.

Approx­i­mately six months ago, the Recy­cling Divi­sion, located within the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works Bureau of Envi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices, started using a new con­trac­tor for the recy­cling of elec­tronic waste. In the past, the County’s elec­tron­ics have gone to E-Structors; for every pound of elec­tronic waste the County was being charged $0.05. Since May, the new con­trac­tor is called Cre­ative Recy­cling, and they are pay­ing the County $0.025 per pound.

Does this sound like a big dif­fer­ence? Maybe not at first glance, but if you’re talk­ing about approx­i­mately 65 tons per month, that fig­ure makes a dif­fer­ence of $117,000 annually.

In addi­tion to the sav­ings, I am a big fan of the reports that are pro­vided. It was very sur­pris­ing to learn that Cre­ative Recy­cling item­izes the elec­tron­ics that they recycle.

Q: How many lap­tops were recy­cled in May?

A: 287 laptops

Q: I would like to know the num­ber of CRT tele­vi­sions recy­cled in September.

A: 44,342 CRT televisions

This infor­ma­tion pro­vides the County with a snap­shot of their elec­tron­ics recy­cling stream, which could assist with future plan­ning efforts. It is also just fun to look at.

Inter­ested in another fun fact? Elec­tron­ics con­tain gold, sil­ver, cop­per, and other pre­cious met­als that are in finite sup­ply, along with plas­tic, glass and other met­als. Accord­ing to the EPA, reusing and recy­cling the raw mate­ri­als from end-of-life elec­tron­ics con­serves nat­ural resources and avoids the air and water pol­lu­tion, as well as green­house gas emis­sions, that are caused by man­u­fac­tur­ing new products.

And lastly, I would like to share the results of the e-cycling event ear­lier this month. In one day, over 3 tons of mate­ri­als were col­lected. Thanks to those who par­tic­i­pated by bring­ing elec­tron­ics to the event, and to all of those res­i­dents who use the recy­cling facil­ity at the Alpha Ridge Land­fill! Your efforts make this pro­gram a success!

To learn more about Howard County’s elec­tron­ics recy­cling pro­gram, or any of Howard County’s recy­cling pro­grams, just go to www.howardcountyrecycles.org.

Laura Miller

Octo­ber 2011


Green Tip

Use safe bottles.Opt for BPA-free bottles to avoid toxins in the body and in the environment.