City Pick-up of Computers, Lights Successful in Educating Businesses

Renton, WA - The City of Renton, Washington, in partnership with King County and local recycler EcoLights offered local businesses a free pick up service for used fluorescent lights and old computer monitors during the week of September 10th. Transportation costs of the materials were covered by the City of Renton and EcoLights. Businesses covered the disposal costs, $.09 per foot for fluorescent lamps and $10 per computer unit (monitor, hard drive, keyboard, mouse).

Fifteen businesses participated in the collection. The city was able to collect 63 computer monitors and 125 flourescent lights. While the numbers seem small, the educational campaign helped business owners realize the dangers of throwing monitors and flourescent lights in the trash.

"Many business owners don't realize that used up fluorescent lights and old computer monitors contain hazardous chemicals that can get into the air, water and soil unless they are properly disposed of," said Linda Knight, Solid Waste Coordinator at the City of Renton. "Working with EcoLights, the City of Renton wants to step up and make it convenient and economical for local businesses to safely recycle these materials."

In August the City of Renton alerted local businesses about the program with a 2,000 piece direct mailing. Renton's pick up and disposal program is in response to a new rule from the State of Washington Department of Ecology classifying used fluorescent lights, high intensity lamps and neon lights as "Universal Waste". The new rules require that fluorescent lights be disposed of at a designated lamp recycler or a permitted hazardous waste disposal company because they contain mercury that can get into the air, water or soil if the light breaks. In addition, old computer monitors may contain chemicals that require special disposal. For instance, computer monitors contain five to seven pounds of lead.

For more information on the program check www.ci.renton.wa.us.


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