Sunday, May 15, 2005

D.C. officials are considering banning the curbside disposal of obsolete electronics.

Citing the success of an semiannual electronics recycling program, officials are planning to operate the program year-round.

“We’ve got contractors who can recycle 100 percent of all the electronics,” said William O. Howland Jr., director of the D.C. Department of Public Works, on Saturday.

Mr. Howland joined Mayor Anthony A. Williams and other city officials on the parking lot of Rock Creek Park’s Carter Barron Amphitheater to help unload old home entertainment equipment and personal computers from cars and pickup trucks.

The “e-cycling” event marked the conclusion of the spring effort that helped area residents dispose of more than five tractor-trailer loads of outdated technology.

“All the monitors, televisions, old computers, cellular telephones and stereos will be broken down, and the materials will be sorted for recycling,” Mr. Howland said.

In addition to plastics and glass, metals including gold, lead and silver will be reclaimed.

The city operates two trash transfer stations and contracts for landfill space at facilities in Maryland and Virginia. The transfer stations, which handle refuse from both residential and commercial sources, are being upgraded to accommodate electronics sorting operations.

A facility on Benning Road in Northeast will be completed this summer, and work on the Fort Totten facility in Northeast will be completed in 2006.

“We’re trying preserve our landfill space because technology changes so quickly this stuff becomes obsolete fast,” Mr. Howland said.

Once renovation of the transfer stations is concluded next year, he hopes to ask the D.C. Council to approve legislation prohibiting disposal of household electronics items in residential trash collections.

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