Enfield, Howland and several other communities will be banding together in July to comply with a new state law requiring the recycling of televisions, computer monitors, fluorescent tubes, batteries and other hardware, officials said.
Maxfield and Edinburg are also among the towns that have tentatively agreed to begin the recycling effort together, with Howland acting as the recycling center because it has a recycling building, Howland Town Manager Glenna Armour said.
The joint recycling effort is an outgrowth of another earlier effort among some of the municipalities, Enfield Town Manager Theresa Thurlow said.
“Glenna had the foresight to apply for a grant for a recycling building, and the town of Enfield agreed that it was a good idea to go in with Howland on a building,” Thurlow said. “We’re all going to have to regionalize on anything and everything we can or we’re all going to go out of business, aren’t we?”
The program was originally supposed to begin Jan. 17, but state officials opted to delay it until July. It grows out of a bill Gov. John Baldacci first signed in 2004 that put Maine among the states leading the way on the recycling of junk computers and regulating ship wastewater.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine estimates that 100,000 computers and televisions are stashed away each year in attics, garages and closets in Maine, and as many as 1 million of them may become electronic waste by 2010.
Because each unit contains up to 8 pounds of lead, as well as mercury, cadmium and other toxic materials, the discarded e-waste poses a health threat when dumped.
Environmentalists said it was critical for Maine to create a recycling program, because landfills in the state will not be allowed to accept e-waste as of January 2006.
Without such a law, Mainers would have to keep stockpiling their old TVs and monitors or illegally dump them.
The recyclable items include computer monitors, TVs, console TVs, desktop copiers and printers, scanners, fax machines, floor copiers, computer processing units, and computer peripherals – keyboards, mice, speakers – and battery backup systems.