SWALCO to halt underfunded electronics recycling
Even though it is bolstered with subsidies from local tax revenues, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) recently decided to discontinue its electronics recycling program due to insufficient funding as of May 1.
The agency held an emergency meeting March 3 to weigh its options but determined that it could no longer sustain the service at five area collection sites. The costs mounted largely due to Illinois' electronics recycling regulations.
“The agency was faced with an unanticipated mandate to pay for collecting electronics, and regrettably we cannot afford to pay more when we are already providing nearly $150,000 per year in manpower and equipment,” SWALCO Chairman Larry Mount of Round Lake Beach said.
SWALCO expressed genuine concern over the program’s unintended demise and its potential impact on county residents. Area consumers are advised that they can continue to dispose of unwanted electronics by dropping off items at other locations, such as Best Buy, Staples and Goodwill; however, most venues will not accept televisions, officials said.
“It is our goal to work with the other stakeholders, including the electronics manufacturers and recyclers, to develop a more sustainable program so that our residents are able to comply with the law, which currently bans 18 items from the landfill, including TVs,” Walter Willis, SWALCO’s executive director, said. “Lake County residents have created the largest and most successful electronics collection program in the State, we are very proud of the program, and to see it likely come to an end is very disappointing.”
SWALCO is collaborating with other local governments to amend Illinois’ current law to allow better access to electronic collection programs and remedy the overall lack of funding to pay for the recycling.