Changes Coming in Kane County Electronics Recycling Program

Changes Coming in Kane County Electronics Recycling Program

Changes are coming to Kane County’s electronics program, Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland said Monday.

Two of four permanent electronics recycling drop-offs will no longer be accepting items after Dec. 15, 2015. The two Kane County drop-offs that are closing are located at 200 N. Raddant Road, Batavia and at 1800 South St., Geneva, which have been operated under partnership between Kane County and the cities since 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Two permanent drop-off locations — in West Dundee and St. Charles — will remain open.

“Despite the poor condition of electronics recycling programs in the state of Illinois, Kane County will continue to work to maintain one of the most successful electronics recycling programs in the state,” Jarland said. “Our main goal is to continue to offer electronics recycling opportunities to the residents of Kane County.”

The West Dundee and St. Charles sites will continue during their regular hours, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice. The locations and phone numbers of the drop-off sites are:

  • Charles Public Works, 1405 S 7th Avenue, St. Charles, 630-377-4405
  • West Dundee Public works, 900 Angle Tarn, West Dundee, 847-586-5605

Outdoor Events Continue

Kane County’s outdoor recycling event will continue to operate at the Traffic Court building at 540 S. Randall Road in St. Charles. The next event takes place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 12, and that event will be the last until April 9, 2016.

The outdoor collection event will continue to serve Kane County residents from 8 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of the month, from April through November 2016. Please see the Kane County Recycles website for more information.

Why Batavia and Geneva Drop-Offs Are Closing

The volume of electronics being received at these locations has grown substantially over the years, with more than 60 percent by weight being large tube-TVs. Those big TVs are very expensive for electronics recycling companies to transport and recycle, Jarland said.

The intent of the original 2011 state electronics recycling law was to make electronics manufacturers financially responsible for the recycling of their products at end of life, but manufacturer goals were set too low, Jarland said. Because of the large volume being received in collection and drop-off programs across the state, manufacturers typically meet their quota by mid-year and then stop funding the process. Meanwhile, electronics continue to be dropped off by residents, and the cost burden has fallen to the recycler or back to local governments that are running collection programs.

An emergency 2015 amendment to the bill raised the goals for the next two years, a temporary and partial fix that may still not cover the total volume being received, Jarland said. There is a mandated Illinois Environmental Protection Agency review period in progress, and there will be amendments proposed in the 2016 sessions that will aim to raise goals to meet what is being collected rather than the current goals based on a percentage of the weight of electronics sold.

Jarland says Kane County has a contract with “one of the strongest electronics recyclers in the region,” eWorks Electronics Services, and has been able to maintain a cost-free program while surrounding counties have seen their programs close down or have paid tens of thousands of dollars to recyclers to continue their recycling programs.

Because of the increase in the volume of material being received and in order to maximize the efficiency of collecting and transporting the equipment from the drop-offs to the eWorks facility, eWorks and Kane County officially proposed a model change in an August meeting with the drop-off managers, requesting a switch from the roll-off model to a trailer model. This new model allows for a larger volume of onsite holding capacity and for less manual lifting of electronics, as a forklift is used to load the full boxes and pallets of material into the trailer.

This model was implemented at the West Dundee and St. Charles drop-offs with success, lessening the labor involved, requiring less logistic management, and lowering the associated costs borne until now by eWorks. The contractor, eWorks, gave notice at the end of November that it could no longer continue to service the Batavia and Geneva locations, because under the old model, the roll-offs fill up too fast, and it is logistically inefficient to change the containers as frequently as needed.

Batavia public works management recommended to their City Council in October to terminate the program, and Geneva announced this month that it would do the same. Kane County set the official closing date of the drop-off locations as Dec. 15, 2015. The Kane County Recycles website reflects this date as the final date for drop-off at these locations.

How to Help Keep the Program Successful

Jarland underlines that both the drop-offs in St. Charles and West Dundee will remain open until further notice as will the outdoor collection events in St. Charles.

She asks residents to help keep the program successful and lasting by dropping equipment at St. Charles and West Dundee only during the open hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facilities also are closed during holidays, including Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The city of St. Charles and Kane County Recycles also ask that residents DO NOT drop equipment off outside the gate when the facility is closed.

“Unfortunately, it jeopardizes the whole program when people do this as it creates a huge amount of work for the public works staff who have to move all those dumped TV by hand onto the pallets and into the trailers,” Jarland said. “Thank you for your understanding, for being conscientious for following the directions on the signs at the St. Charles and west Dundee drop-offs.”

SOURCE: Kane County Recycles press release