Launch Slideshow

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The cost of e-waste

The cost of e-waste

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    Jenni Spinner

    Residents drive up to drop off their e-waste during a recent collection event in Lake Surich, III.; the village took in an estimated 38,000 to 40,000 pounds of material.

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    Jenni Spinner

    Left to right: Alec Brown, his father Mike Brown—superintendent of general services for the Lake Zurich, Ill., public works department—and Nathan Armstrong, director of operations for Bolingbrook, Ill., salvage company E-Scrap Technologies discuss the recent successful e-waste collection event at the village's public works yard.

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    Timothy Osgood

    This Chicago event is common to many other e-waste events. Residents dropped of items—from TVs to computers to printers—which were then sorted and carted off to a recycling facility.

The best part of the triumphant e-waste collection: it didn't cost the village a dime. Brown and his department contracted with Bolingbrook, Ill.-based E-Scrap Technologies to run the event—at no charge to the city. The electronics salvage company provided the containers, labor, and hauling; all Lake Zurich had to do was provide space, which ended up being a corner of the public works yard.

“We had been working with another company in the past, but there was a cost involved, and we had to supply the labor; the costs were getting too high,” said Brown. “When E-Scrap approached us, we thought this would be a great way to give back to the residents.

The citizens themselves only paid fees when dropping off large items, such as an office copier or severely outdated or broken equipment—”stuff that's not really able to be salvaged for anything,” said Brown. Even in those cases, the fees were minimal, falling in the $7 to $10 range.

Brown added that Lake Zurich is considering adding another collection event in the fall. — Jenni Spinner