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E-waste recycling protects the environment - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

E-waste recycling protects the environment

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TEXARKANA -

Are you making plans to purchase a sleek new tablet, flat screen TV or the latest cell phone?
    
As you part with the old stuff, be aware that more states have made it illegal to simply throw away computers, printers and TV's.  
    
"I don't think a lot of people realize the contamination that electronics can bring in to a landfill," explained Brandy Chewning, Recycling Coordinator, City of Texarkana, Arkansas.  
    
So far, this year the Arkansas-side's Green Texarkana Recycling Program has collected more than 20 tons of electronic waste.
    
Chewning says their program is possible through a partnership with the Unicor Recycling Program at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas.  

"We were fortunate enough to come right out of the gate with an e-waste recycling program, said Chewning. "Allot of communities have to work to build up to that."
        
Studies show Americans hold on to 200 million old or damaged cell phones.  
    
Estimates also suggest that people were holding onto 84 million obsolete or broken television sets in 2010, that number has likely grown.

"The older TV's that we are use to, on average those held about four pounds of lead in them and there are other contaminates as well," said Chewning.    
    
For every thousand cell phones recycled, EPA officials say 35 pounds of copper, 12 ounces of silver, 1 ounce of gold, and a half ounce of palladium can be recovered.
     
Texarkana College Biology Professor Delores McCright says e-waste can cause serious health issues including cancer, nervous system disorders, and pre-birth defects.
    
She says electronics should not be placed in landfills.

"If water hits it, sometimes it will wash off into our waterways, we can get heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which are toxic to us," said McCright.
    
Electronic waste is being addressed on both a state and federal level.
    
19 states have banned electronic waste from landfills.
    
In all, 35 states have an e-waste recycling law including Texas.
    
In Arkansas, there are regulations on how to dispose of electronic items.

"There's even a national law, that has some regulations where we are suppose to govern recycling electronics, said McCright. "Even the industries that make the electronics are required to recycle them."
 
Companies that sell computers and related products are also required to charge a recycling fee when you purchase the item.
    
Louisiana does not currently have an e-waste recycling law.  

However, there are electronic drop-off locations in the state.

The City of Texarkana, Arkansas collects e-waste and other recyclables on the second Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the corner of East 3rd and Hazel streets.
    
The City of Texarkana, Texas will be holding an Electronics Recycling Day on October 26th at Spring Lake Park.

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