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March 8, 2010

Oswego County Implements $5 Fee to Recycle TVs, Monitors and Microwaves

In a move to offset the high cost of recycling electronic waste, the Oswego County Solid Waste Department will charge $5 to recycle television sets, computer monitors and microwave ovens. The fee takes effect Monday, April 5, at the recycling drop-off centers.

County Legislator Fred Beardsley, chairman of the Infrastructure and Facilities Committee, said the electronics recycling program has been very successful but has become increasingly expensive to maintain, especially over the last two years. In 2009 the solid waste department paid more than $85,000 to dispose of recycled electronics.

"We set the fee at a modest amount because we don't want to discourage people from recycling these items," said Legislator Beardsley. "The county collected about 900,000 pounds of electronics equipment in 2009 and it is important that we continue to keep these materials out of the county landfill and Energy Recovery Facility. The $5 fee will help to offset the county's costs."

The $5 fee will only apply to TVs, monitors, and microwaves. All other electronics will still be accepted free of charge.

Items such as TVs and computer monitors contain large amounts of lead, mercury, and cadmium.

"The program is very successful but it is costing us more than $85,000 a year," said Frank Visser, Director of Solid Waste. "We expect to see an increase at our recycling drop-off centers because Onondaga County is no longer accepting electronics in its recycling program. We accepted more than 10,000 TVs, monitors and microwaves, as well as thousands of PCs, printers, VCRs, radios, etc. for recycling last year."

The Legislature's Infrastructure and Facilities Committee oversees the operation of the solid waste management system. In addition to Legislator Beardsley, District 9 (Central Square), committee members include Vice Chairman James Oldenburg, District 14 (Scriba); Barbara Brown, District 8 (Palermo, Hastings, Schroeppel); Daniel Chalifoux, District 19 (Minetto, Oswego Town, Hannibal, Granby); Linda Lockwood, District 11 (Volney); Milferd Potter, District 2 (Orwell, Albion, Williamstown, Richland); and Amy Tresidder, District 16 (City of Oswego).

The charge was recommended by the Solid Waste Management Board and approved by the County Legislature's Infrastructure and Facilities Committee in February.

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