October 24, 2014

DNR worried about dumped devices

The state Department of Natural Resources is raising concerns about old electronics being dumped in rural areas.

DNR e-cycling coordinator Sarah Murray says the agency is receiving a growing number of reports of used electronics dropped on the side of the road or in state conservation areas. She believes it’s largely due to the state’s ban on sending those devices to landfills, and many people just have not taken the time to find out what else they can do to get rid of them or do not want to pay any recycling fees.

In some cases, valuable metals have been stripped out of the devices for salvage, while components containing dangerous chemicals have been left behind. Murray says those items still need to be recycled, regardless of their condition, because the plastics, glass, and many other components can find new uses. There are also worries about the more harmful chemicals being released into the environment, potentially contaminating soil and water.

There are more than 400 collection sites statewide that take old electronics. For many personal devices, the fees are typically small or in many cases free. Businesses looking to unload old electronics are advised to contact recyclers directly.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett (1:08)