It’s illegal to throw away e-waste in Illinois
Most electronic items, including (but not limited to) computers, TVs, printers and MP3 players, must be recycled or reused and cannot be mixed in with the general waste stream.
Public Act 97-0287, passed in 2012, mandates that e-waste be sent to an EPA registered e-waste collector. See a statewide list of registered e-waste collectors here.
In most cases you can also return electronics for proper recycling at the point of sale. Check this list of registered manufacturers to see which electronics makers accept e-waste for proper recycling.
***First-time offenders to Illinois’ e-waste law face a $25 fine; the fine increases with subsequent offenses.
Proper disposal of other “special wastes”
E-waste isn’t the only type of waste that can’t enter the general waste stream. Other wastes that can’t, or shouldn’t, be tossed in the trashcan or dumpster include:
Recycling rate in Illinois
According to 2010 figures, Illinois’ total waste diversion rate (recycling and composting) is around 37%. That’s about on par with the national average.
However, Illinois residents generate more waste per capita than the other states. So, there’s still a great potential to increase recycling rates in the state, particularly in the Chicago area where the majority of the state’s waste is generated.
The Waste and Recycling in Illinois report of 2010 points out that recyclable materials that make its way into Illinois landfills could be worth about $600 million to the state economy if recovered.