Local News

NC residents could start paying for recycling TVs, computers

Posted August 3, 2015 5:56 p.m. EDT

— The toxic lead glass inside old televisions and computer monitors is difficult to destroy without harming the environment.

Only a few companies in the country are equipped to do it properly. And right now, electronic manufacturers foot the bill.

Most pass along the recycling costs to the consumer in the price tag of new electronics. But that could soon change.

The state Senate recently passed a bill that puts the cost of recycling electronics on local governments, rather than manufacturers.

Supporters, including Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford County, say it’s a move to make the state more "business friendly” and point out that manufacturers are drawn to areas where the cost of doing business is lower.

But local governments say consumers and homeowners will ultimately pay the price.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Wake County resident Zac Walker said.

In Wake County, it costs about $400,000 a year to destroy the 4 million pounds of trashed TVs.

“At least 50 percent of what’s behind me are TVs,” Wake County Solid Waste Management Director John Roberson said, pointing to a vast collection of electronics brought in for recycling.

If the bill passes, Roberson said, the current trash bill of $20 a year for homeowners will likely increase.

“It’s our understanding that price will go up to 20 cents per pound,” he said. “At the end of the day, it will cost us more money.”

The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday passed a resolution opposing the bill, which is currently being considered in the House.