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updated: 3/21/2013 11:06 AM

Illinois recycles 39 million pounds of electronics

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  • Old computers are piled in a box as they are prepared for shipment to a recycler at Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County.

    Old computers are piled in a box as they are prepared for shipment to a recycler at Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County.
    Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Nearly 39 million pounds of old televisions, computers and other electronics have been recycled during the first year of a statewide ban on throwing away the materials in Illinois landfills.

The ban is part of a law that took effect in 2008 requiring manufacturers to start recycling programs for discarded and unwanted electric products. A new phase of the law took effect Jan. 1, 2012, that applies to consumers. Illinois residents are required to take electronic devices to a registered recycler. There are more than 140 collection sites available statewide.

The program has authorized private firms as recycling centers. One example is BLH Computers Inc. with facilities in Decatur, Jacksonville, Springfield and Taylorville. It processes about 1.2 million pounds of electronics a year.

Manufacturers also are assigned minimum recycling goals and must register and participate or face fines. A report from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency found that 71 electronics manufacturers, including Apple, Best Buy and Sony, participated. Six failed to participate, the State Journal-Register reported .

Nonprofit groups are earning money thanks to electronics recycling. Habitat for Humanity in Sangamon County raised more than $25,000 from electronics recycling in 2012. It collected more than 1 million pounds of electronics since July 2011.

Habitat for Human executive director Sarah Mackey attributes the recycling to people buying new electronics, computers, monitors and televisions.

"Most importantly, all of it's diverted from landfills and properly recycled," Mackey said. "It brings green practices to our community."

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