In July of 2004, the state passed a law that required towns and cities to provide free and convenient disposal of electronics for their local residents. The purpose of the law is to alleviate some of the congestion of e-waste that much of the world now suffers from.
WeRecycle, a company based in Mount Vernon, NY, was selected to recycle for the Housatonic Valley Region. Their website brings facts about responsible recycling to light.
- 315 to 600 million obsolete computers would fill six acres a mile high
- Only 10% of unwanted computers are recycled responsibly
- Each computer monitor or TV display contains an average 4-8 pounds of lead
- 40% of 168 hard drives from ebay have recoverable private data
- 74% of old elctronics are exported overseas where unprotected workers burn, dump, smash and bury E-Waste.
- 98% of what is in an average laptop is recyclable
The law has taken almost four years to implement, according to Cheryl Reedy of the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority , which covers eleven towns in the Western Connecticut region.
The new rules are easy for consumers to follow and are imperative since there has been a ban on disposing of electronics since January of 2011.
Reedy advised, “Anytime the transfer station is open, you can bring in your electronics with no charge. They will take a maximum of seven items at a time, but you can go as often as you need to, as long as it's all residential. You can bring in answering machines, video games, cameras, blenders, even those humongous TVs.”
Reedy added that there are a few things that cannot be dropped off without a charge. “They don't take air conditioners, dehumidifiers, large appliances like stoves or refrigerators. You can still drop them off, but there will be a charge."
While the law was passed in 2004, it wasn't until 2011 that the state contacted recycling companies for bids for picking up all of the e-waste, and Reedy said it took about a year to go through the applications. For this area, The HRRA, which is a regional, governmental, waste management and recycling authority, needed to find a company that could manage the region's 11 municipalities and a population of over 225,000 people.
“They picked out six approved companies from a list," Reedy said, "and they looked at the price that would be charged back to the manufacturers, who must now pay for the recycling and transportation of electronics.”
Reedy also said that it was important to look at where the materials ended up. "Much of the old electronics are exported overseas where they could get around the law, if those countries had standards that were not the same as the US. “
Over the last few years, the municipalities were challenged to figure out how to make the process free, easy and accessible. Reedy said that in the Housatonic Valley region the towns work well together, and they decided to choose one recycler who would serve all of the towns. “It just made sense. And everyone wanted to make their local drop off point at their local transfer station, that was something people were used to.”
The company that was selected, WeRecycle, also agreed to pick up town municipal and school electronics. “The manufacturers do not have to pay for them, but WeRecylce is taking them. Towns and schools produce quite a bit of e-waste,” Reedy said.
Besides the electronics, other changes have been made to recycling in the area as well. With new Single Stream Recycling, recyclable materials at home can all be placed in one bag together. Old phone books, tin cans, shampoo bottles, newspaper, egg and milk cartons, and glass bottles can all be placed in one single bag, according to the flyer that can be found in the photo gallery for a full list of recyclables.
The companies in Bethel that fall under the new recycling standards are Belardinelli, Empire Waste Service, Simple Waste solutions, and TM Carting. In some cases, Danbury carters also pick up in Bethel. Some of the companies in Danbury also serve Bethel. The list includes Augusto DaSilva Enterprises, Brusa Refuse, City of Danbury, DaSilva Sons, Europens FurnitureHawley Sweeping, Home Refuse, LoStocco Refuse, Mr. Scotts Sanitation, Ralphs Auto Sales, Sabene Carting Services, Sasso Enterprises, VSC Trucking, Winters Bros. If you are using a company that is not listed, call HRRA at 203-775-6256.