Department of Ecology News Release - January 28, 2010

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First year of Washington's electronics recycling program collects over 38 million pounds

OLYMPIA – More than 38.5 million pounds of TVs, computers and monitors were recycled in the first year of the E-Cycle Washington program. State residents and businesses proved once again that Washington really is the ever-"green" state.

When E-Cycle Washington began operations on Jan. 1, 2009, it was one of the first in the nation to collect unwanted TVs, computers and monitors for free recycling. The program is paid for by the manufacturers of these electronic products and regulated by the Department of Ecology. E-Cycle Washington has safely and responsibly recycled:

Electronic products contain heavy metals and chemicals at hazardous levels making them difficult to dispose of safely. For example, depending on its size, a TV's cathode ray tube contains an estimated four to eight pounds of lead. Recycling electronic products keeps toxic metals such as lead and mercury out of landfills and the environment.

"The E-Cycle Washington program is even more successful than we had hoped," said Ted Sturdevant, Ecology director. "At the start, we estimated the program would collect 26 million pounds in the first year, but it hit that total in August.

"And these numbers don't include the thousands of working units that went to reuse through sales or donations by charities such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul," he added.

Across the state, households, schools, small businesses and charities took advantage of this free-of-charge program. More than 230 collection sites and services in Washington were busy from the first day of operations. The heavily populated areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties were responsible for over 64 percent of the total pounds collected.

"I applaud the manufacturers for stepping up to this challenge. The planet has finite resources, and we need to eliminate toxic releases into the environment. For both those reasons, this kind of closed-loop system for toxic products is the future," Sturdevant said.

The energy savings from recycling rather than land-filling the computers alone (10 percent of the total volume) is equivalent to more than 690,000 gallons of gasoline.

To find a collection site near you, visit www.ecyclewashington.org or call 1-800-RECYCLE.

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Media Contacts:
Miles Kuntz, Ecology Waste 2 Resources, 360-407-7157
Kathy Davis, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6149

For more information:
E-Cycle Washington website: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/eproductrecycle/
ECOconnect blog: E-Cycle Washington saves money & the environment