Monday, March 23, 2009

What To Do With All That Junk

There has been a lot in the news of late about all the debris floating above our heads. No I don’t mean the rhetoric from Washington, I mean all the space junk that is orbiting our planet. Just a week or so ago, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station had to hunker down in a capsule until a piece of a discarded rocket engine passed perilously close to the station traveling at some 22,000 mph. It seems that what goes up does come down, but in space terms it may take a while. Apparently our near-earth cosmic space is getting very crowed with junk. Just like the NASA guys who need to do a better job of handling our space trash disposal, we earthbound consumers need to do the same.

One of the most worrisome categories of trash is the mountain of obsolete consumer electronic devices that get pitched every day. TVs, cell phones, home computers, ipods VCRs and many other devices with power cords or batteries get sent to the curb for Mr. Rumpke.

Gone are the days when you bought a TV or radio and used it for years, taking it in for repair when needed. Today some people replace cell phones in order to get one that matches the color of their socks. Others must have the latest and greatest. “My phone is newer and smaller than your phone….nya! nya! nya! nya! nya!”

Even in this stressed economy, we are not likely to change our consumption habits. We should however change our disposal habits. Electronic devices and the batteries that power them contain some very bad stuff. Arsenic, mercury, lead and heavy metals are not things we want to pitch into land fills.

There are safe options that everyone should consider when disposing of these items. Some will cost a few dollars but this expense is more than justified by the long term benefit to the planet and all who live here.
In an effort to handle the increased number of TV sets being retired because of the digital transition, the Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District will conduct a TV recycling event from May 1 - December 30, 2009 for residents of Hamilton County, Ohio. The TV Recycling Program will be incorporated with the computer recycling program. Recycling computer equipment will continue to be free. Recycling TVs will have the following charges associated: 60 lbs or less, $10/TV; over 60 lbs, $20/TV.There are several other options for area residents wanting to responsibly dispose of unwanted electronic items. You can call the Solid Waste District at 513-946-7766 or better yet go to the web site where they list several places that will take your old equipment. Some of them will take the items for free. For example, Best Buy stores will take some old TV’s and other items like cell phones and batteries.

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