Lake County agency looks to reopen electronics drop-off sites

  • The electronics drop-off at the Vernon Hills public works department is among many that have closed throughout Lake County.

    The electronics drop-off at the Vernon Hills public works department is among many that have closed throughout Lake County. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted12/20/2014 7:21 AM

Some free electronics disposal locations could reopen next week and more could soon be back online pending action by the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.

How quickly they will open and for how long depends on several factors, but some relief is expected next week for consumers.

 

"We're still working out the details with up to eight sites," said Walter Willis, executive director of the waste agency. "We have six for sure."

The cost of removing electronics from drop-off sites traditionally has been paid by companies that manufacture the products. That provided a free service for consumers and a profit for the waste agency, which then contracts with a recycling company to pick up the discards.

Under a 2008 state law, manufacturers are required to pay to remove a given weight of discarded electronics. Those totals have already been met this year, and with the funds exhausted, the agency would have to have paid its recycler to pick up for the remainder of the year. Faced with that possibility, agency temporarily discontinued the service.

On Thursday, the agency's executive committee voted to recommend the full membership sign a contract with Dynamic Recycling to resume the program.

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The contract would be not to exceed $200,000 for 2015 after manufacturer payments, with the difference coming from the agency's reserves.

But the contract must be approved by the full membership for it to be official. That meeting is Jan. 22, and Willis hopes an informal arrangement with Dynamic will allow for drop-offs to continue before then.

"Unless you're really in a pinch or a hurry, wait until early January," he said. "Even Monday or Tuesday, we'll have six sites open." Consumers should check www.swalco.org. Any site listed on the website is open, he added.

If the full board approves the funding, up to eight permanent collection sites and one-day collection events will continue, Willis said.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 will oversee a mandated review of the state law.

Meanwhile, the solid waste agency intends to reintroduce legislation regarding changes in the law.

"Our goal would be to come up with a short-term fix for 2015 and a longer term fix for Jan. 1, 2016," Willis said.

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