Indianapolis Suburb Bans Electronics in Trash

The city of Greenwood, Indiana may be across a map-drawn border from the city of Indianapolis, but they sure do things differently there. A recent law was passed in Greenwood that prohibits its residents from throwing electronic devices into the garbage along with eggshells and coffee grounds. This law took effect on January 1st, 2011, leaving folks in Greenwood with no option but to hold onto their junk or find a techno-recycler to take it off their hands.

Hold the Phones

The original law, from which this provision is being enforced, was actually passed in 2009 when landfills and incinerators were forbidden as methods of disposing of electronics. The specific toxins that are the cause for such concern are lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated flame retardants. They can contaminate our soil, water and air, and have to be disposed of in a more responsible manner, at least in Greenwood.

Pay to Play Nice

There are a number of sites throughout Johnson County at which one can drop off their electronics for the legally proscribed recycling process, but it’s not entirely a free service. While remote controls, computers and other equipment can be dropped off during regular hours for no charge, it will cost you $7.50 to drop off a TV set of up to 27 inches; anything larger than that will cost you $12.

Will this keep people from throwing their old electronics in dumpsters under the cover of darkness? Or hauling it across city lines to dispose of it in landfills that don’t care as much as Greenwood does about what they take? Or will people simply keep onto their old devices, leaving them for the bemusement of future archaeologist? Are the makers of new electronics devices on board with this fight to preserve the old stuff? Those are the kinds of questions that the City of Greenwood didn’t address – and good for them, by the way, for choosing to protect the environment over all of the predictable distractions.