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State E-Recycle Program Saves Landfills


Aired 4/19/09

A huge electronics recycling plant in North San Diego County is using a new process that keeps harmful materials out of landfills. The new Vista warehouse is one of hundreds of locations in the state where e-waste can be dropped off. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details.

A state law makes it illegal for Californians to toss certain electronic items -- such as TVs and old computer monitors -- into the trash. Most of the e-waste contains toxic materials like lead.

Margo Reid Brown is with the state Integrated Waste Management Board. The board is in charge of tracking the 88 million tons of waste California generates each year. Brown says the goal of the e-recycle program is to reduce landfill waste by giving new life to outdated electronic equipment.

Brown: People are recognizing that this is hazardous waste by and large and taking it to certified collectors or recyclers who actually manage to take out the metals, take out the glass and the plastic, and recycle most of those materials for reuse.

Brown says the program is succeeding -- nearly 130 million pounds of e-waste was recycled last year -- double the amount from 2005.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

(Photo: This new vista warehouse is one of hundreds of locations in the state where e-waste can be dropped off.  Ed Joyce/KPBS ).

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