Beaufort News

New law restricts curbside electronics disposal

COLUMBIA -- Until today, tossing a television out with the trash in South Carolina was simply bad for the environment. Now, it's illegal.

The S.C. Legislature in 2010 passed an electronics recycling law that banned televisions, computers, computer monitors and printers from the solid waste system. That portion of the law goes into effect today.

Separate regulations setting penalties for violating the law were approved by the S.C. House but were stalled in the Senate and held over to the 2012 legislative session. If approved, they place the onus not on consumers but on landfill operators, who can be fined $1,000 per violation for accepting the banned electronics devices.

Those devices contain toxic substances, including lead, mercury and cadmium. When they are deposited in landfills as "e-waste," the toxins can be released into the atmosphere or seep into the land and ground water.

Here are tips from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's website on how to properly dispose of such devices:

  • Forty-three of the state's 46 counties, including Beaufort, have e-cycling programs, some more comprehensive than others.
  • Special recycling programs. These are offered sporadically and in some cases are more convenient than going to permanent drop-off sites. Beaufort County has planned four events between now and May 2012, in which residents can drop off banned devices at public-works centers.
  • Manufacturer programs. All manufacturers of electronics are now required to offer their own e-cycling programs, and most major retailers have recycling programs.
  • In many cases, you have to pack the device and ship it. With larger devices, there can be shipping charges. State officials expect most consumers will be more likely to drop off electronics at local collection locations. But if you prefer to ship the devices back to the manufacturer, DHEC has compiled a list of links at www.scdhec.gov.

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