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April 24, 2012

MADISON -- This April, bright spring flowers aren't the only things popping up in Wisconsin's ravines and roadside ditches. Department of Natural Resources wardens, local law enforcement officials and residents have been finding a growing number of computers, televisions and other electronics along roadsides and in farm fields and natural areas. While illegal, dumping electronics is also a waste of valuable materials and dumping pollutes Wisconsin's landscapes and waterways.

"Illegal dumping of electronics is not only harmful to the environment, it's completely unnecessary," said Brad Wolbert, DNR recycling and solid waste section chief. "There are many legitimate places for responsible citizens to take their unwanted electronics. Farmers and taxpayers shouldn't have to pay to clean up someone else's discarded electronics."

Since Wisconsin's electronics recycling law took effect in 2010, Wolbert said, more than 150 electronics collectors have registered to be a part of the E-Cycle Wisconsin program. These collectors host more than 400 collection sites across Wisconsin. The sites take old electronics from households and schools for free or a small charge as part of a manufacturer-funded recycling program.

To find the list of collection sites go to the DNR website and search E-cycle. Many collectors will be holding special one-day collection events in the next two months, in addition to the permanent drop-off sites they operate.

Businesses, institutions and local governments may also use the DNR website to find a registered recycler.

"Businesses should be aware of 'too good to be true' deals from people claiming to be legitimate electronics recyclers," said Ginger Hooper, DNR environmental enforcement specialist. "Make sure you're using a responsible recycler. If illegally dumped items can be traced back to a business, they will have to pay twice for the items to be taken care of."

DNR recycling staff recommend that businesses or others recycling a large number of electronics talk to at least two or three recyclers to get a sense of the prices and services the recyclers offer. Anyone recycling electronics should ask questions about how data on the electronics will be removed and where materials from the electronics will go.

With an ever-increasing number of electronics in the waste stream, Wolbert added, it is everyone's responsibility to make sure flowers are the only items Wisconsin residents see along our roadways this spring.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert - 608-264-6286 or Bill Cosh -608-267-2773

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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