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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Jan 06

Recycling E-Waste

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 10:31 AM by Doug Bolnick

RECYCLE ELECTRONICS TO GIVE THEM RE-USE


If you’re among the lucky families that received a new television, gaming system, computer, cell phone or appliance this holiday, chances are that you’ve already started using it. But, what did you do with the old one?
E Waste
Each year, landfills overflow with nearly 2 million tons of electronics, as we make way for new and improved items. This type of trash, also known as E-waste, can contain lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, mercury, nickel, zinc, copper, silver, gold and other materials that can be harmful to our environment. These toxic materials can contaminate the soil, water and air in our community.


Where Can I Recycle in St. Charles County?
The
Division of Environmental Health and Protection strongly supports the mantra
Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle, and collects a wide variety of materials through two conveniently located Recycle Works locations. Recycle Works Central is located at 60 Triad South Drive in St. Charles, near the intersection of Central School and Kisker roads. Recycle Works West is located at 2110 E. Pitman Ave., in Wentzville, between Highway A and Highway 40/61.


What are the Benefits of Recycling E-Waste?
Recycling your unwanted electronic equipment offers many benefits, including:

Enables Equipment and Parts to be Re-Used by Others
Working items can be refurbished and sold through retailers as recycled goods, while parts and wiring of damaged or broken items can be used to repair other systems. In all, more than 70 percent of the material collected by recycling E-Waste can be repurposed into new products or raw materials.

Protects our Health and Environment
As mentioned above, there are many toxic materials found in electronic products. The lead used in building circuit boards and other items can impact brain development or damage kidneys. Mercury, which helps light flat screen displays and operate computer batteries, can harm the central nervous system and cause kidney damage. In addition to harming people, when dumped items seep into waterways and the soil, these materials destroy the environment and poison nearby livestock.
Computer Recycle at RW Central
Conserves Limited Resources
Producing, distributing and consuming new items requires a lot of energy and depletes the amount of raw materials available in the future. For example, it takes more than 500 pounds of fuel, nearly 50 pounds of chemicals and more than one ton of water to manufacture and distribute a computer and monitor to the marketplace. For every million cell phones recycled, more than 35,000 pounds of copper, 700 poun
ds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold are recovered for future use.

Creates Jobs and Saves Money
The recycling industry generates hundreds of thousands of American jobs and billions in reve
nues. Often, purchasing pre-owned or refurbished devices can be cheaper than buying a brand-new item. Many states (including Missouri) impose fines for the improper disposal of E-Waste.


What Else Can Be Recycled?

In addition to the safe handling of traditional recyclable materials, the Recycle Works facilities accept selected household hazardous waste items. Items collected for a small fee include: automobile fluids, pesticides, non-latex paints, pool chemicals, cleaning material and others. Please note that the Household Hazardous Waste collection program is open to St. Charles County residents only. For information on the items accepted and collection times, please call 636-949-1800.