Wisconsin's E-cycle law helps recycle nearly 14 million pounds of electronics

Wisconsin's E-cycle law, which went into effect last year, helped encourage manufacturers to recycle almost 14 million pounds of electronics from July to December 2010, according to MilwaukeeNewsBuzz.com

Companies such as Sony, Panasonic and Sonyo are contracting local recycling companies to most effectively dispose of old televisions, radios, computer monitors and stereos. They must meet the E-cycle goal of 15 million more pounds recycled in the first six months of 2011 to avoid being fined.

The news source reports that 55 percent of electronics collected were televisions, 18 percent were monitors and 9 percent were computers. Wisconsin has been pushing ahead to become a state focused on sustainability, and there are now almost 350 different collection sites in 65 counties.

Since September 2011, it has been illegal to discard old electronics by using the landfill.

E-Cycle St. Louis reports that there are a number of hazardous health effects caused by the improper disposal of these items, which makes electronic recycling especially important. Computer monitors and televisions have high amounts of lead - an average of four pounds each - which can seep into other garbage and sometimes poison water supplies.

Batteries not only have lead, they also contain mercury and cadium, two poisonous chemicals.

Consumer electronics may make up 40 percent of the lead in garbage disposals.

The news source suggests that the best way to deal with old electronics is to give them away or repair rather than replace them. Many computers can be continually upgraded, which can significantly extend their lifespans.

Electronic gadgets that are used around the house often degrade faster than alternatives, even if they are cheaper and have more of a novelty value. Homeowners should stock up on quality items that are less likely to wear out in a year.