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.