BANGOR, Maine — Old TVs, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices filled four tractor-trailers on Saturday as residents took advantage of free recycling designed to keep the items out of landfills, said Mike Doran, owner of eWaste Recycling Solutions of Auburn.
The key to the program is keeping electronics waste out of the waste stream, especially lead from the cathode ray tubes in pre-plasma computer screens and televisions, Doran said.
“The state of Maine banned those [CRT devices] from the landfills,” he said, and “manufacturers pay for the recycling.”
Maine’s e-waste recycling law, enacted in 2006, requires manufacturers of CRT-containing devices to pay for the cost of recycling their old hazardous products and, if they refuse, bans them from selling products in Maine.
The law has really helped to keep the devices from being buried in the ground, Doran said.
His firm takes the old TVs and other electronic devices, strips them down to metal and plastic, and removes the glass from the TV screens, which are bundled and sold to other recyclers.
“Nothing goes into landfills,” Doran said. “Plastics go to the plastic recycler and metal goes to the metal recycler.”
The TV screens, which also contain lead, are sold to another company that melts them down so they can be reused to make new screens, he said.
Before they are stripped, “every single one of these computers and TV monitors gets documented, with the brand and manufacturer [noted], then we bill the manufacturer,” Doran said.
This year, iPods and cell phones were added to the list of acceptable items, and about 15 cell phones and a few music devices were handed over in Bangor, he said.
“Landfills are filling up so quickly and there are so many items that are regulated,” Doran said. “It’s important to keep them out of the landfills.”
Each of the four tractor-trailers that were filled in Bangor held between 25,000 and 30,000 pounds of recyclable products.
To collect items statewide, eWaste Recycling Solutions has pickups scheduled throughout the year, and posts those pickup dates on the company Web site, ewastemaine.com.