Cellphone in trash has bad ring to it


Most of us think we’ve done our job in placing trash and recyclable waste on the curb for pickup.

But some Hoosiers are too quick in throwing out electronic devices for the trash truck. Instead, they should be taking their computers, old cellphones and no-longer-used video players, among other items, to Indiana’s authorized disposal sites.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management posts a list of those sites at its website, in.gov/idem/recycle/2352.htm.

This year, IDEM reported that about 87,500 tons of electronics have been recycled since a state law was introduced in 2009 banning certain electronics from landfills.

But IDEM is also trying to send a message reminding Hoosiers that electronic devices must be taken to these approved sites. When these items leak, they leave a mess for local trash collection agencies and landfills.

To prevent such clean-up potential, homeowners should become familiar with the banned items. And that’s not as easy at it sounds.

Indiana’s law is admittedly confusing over the definition of e-waste.

On a simpler level, e-waste is anything with a video screen. But there’s also a broader definition used by IDEM that includes devices that can play a DVD or CD, digital media players and GPS devices. They’ve been banned from local landfills since 2012 because they can leak cadmium, chromium and flame retardation chemicals into the ground.

In addition, although Indiana has more than 100 e-waste recycling sites, they aren’t available to many rural Hoosiers.

The Legislature would be wise to clean up any confusion and encourage rural areas to develop recycling sites — even alerting those residents to the closest facilities.

Until then, Hoosiers will have to remain vigilant and stay informed on where e-waste should be discarded.

As we get rid of our kids’ outdated devices, we must keep in mind that we’re trying to protect the environment for those kids.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to dr-editorial@ greenfieldreporter.com.