OLYMPIA - If you're wondering what to do with those unwanted TVs, computers and monitors stored in a garage or back room, relief is here. E-Cycle Washington is a new program that started on Jan. 1. It allows free and convenient recycling of these electronic products.

The makers of these products are providing about 200 collection sites around the state. State residents, small businesses, school districts, small government agencies and charities can bring television sets, computers (desktop and laptop) and monitors to these sites to be recycled. They will pay no fee for this service.

There is no need to rush out this weekend - or even this month. E-Cycle Washington is a permanent and ongoing addition to current recycling opportunities available to Washington residents. Many collection sites will be open several days a week and some will be open every day. And the collection network will be continuously improved to meet the needs of the public.

Manufacturers, collectors, recyclers, retailers, local and state government and non-profit groups are working together to make E-Cycle Washington a success.

Washington was one of the first states in the nation to pass a law (the Electronic Product Recycling Act) in 2006 requiring electronics manufacturers to set up a free recycling program for their products. Product-makers have gotten together to finance and develop a plan for the program, including collection, transportation and recycling. The organization operating the program is the Washington Materials Management and Financing Authority (WMMFA).

The law makes manufacturers responsible for taking back the products they produce that contain toxic material. It also gives consumers responsibility for bringing in these products for safe and responsible recycling, rather than throwing them away to end up in a landfill. This concept is called product stewardship.

The Department of Ecology sets standards for the program and oversees regulation.

"Washington can be proud of this program that helps us take responsibility for the products we make, buy and use," said Ecology Director Jay Manning.  "We in the Pacific Northwest have a strong recycling culture, but old electronics have posed real challenges. This program retains our leadership in recycling, while at the same time maintaining our position at the cutting edge of technology. E-Cycle Washington takes us in exactly the right direction."

Electronic products contain heavy metals and chemicals at hazardous levels making them difficult to dispose of safely. For example, depending on its size, a TV's cathode ray tube contains an estimated four to eight pounds of lead.

Some of these toxic chemicals, such as mercury, are known to have neurological and developmental effects when infants and children are exposed to them at high levels. Children have a greater risk for exposure.

Recycling electronic products keeps toxic metals such as lead and mercury out of landfills and the environment.

E-Cycle Washington collection sites will accept only TVs, computers and monitors. To find get a list of E-Cycle Washington collection sites, go to (www.ecyclewashington.org). Look for the E-Cycle logo (the round, green plug) to identify the program collection sites that accept these products free. Or call 800-RECYCLE. 

Due to their larger size, not all sites are capable of accepting TVs.  Be sure to check the Web site or call before taking your TV to your local collection site.

Keyboards, computer mice, printers, VCR/DVD players, other peripherals, cell phones and other electronic or electrical products will not be accepted free for recycling at this time at E-Cycle Washington sites.

The designated E-Cycle drop off location for the Pacific County is at Pacific Solid Waste Disposal at 4404 E. 67th in Long Beach (642-4389), and Royal Heights Transfer Station at 876 State Route 105 in Raymond (942-3417).

To find out where to take other items for recycling in other areas, call 800-RECYCLE or check out their Web-based database at (http://1800recycle.wa.gov/). 

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