Hall of Famer Yogi Berra was known not only for his incredible career with the New York Yankees, but also for his incredible one-liners. One of my favorites is “it’s déjà vu all over again.”
In 1996, I wrote about how I was looking forward to single-stream recycling (then known as a “dirty MRF”), which we Granite Citians enjoy today. In 2012, I wrote about the frustration I felt at trying to safely, and legally, dispose of a broken-down cathode-ray console television. Recently, I experienced déjà vu all over again.
My wife asked why I never used an old inkjet printer that shared desk space with my computer and monitor.
“It doesn’t work anymore, remember? Franklin (our now-deceased cat) jammed up the on-off switch by hitting it with his paw.”
“If it’s not working, get rid of the darn thing.”
Angie can be so maddeningly practical.
At the start of 2012, Illinois enacted legislation requiring the recycling of discarded electronic devices. This includes monitors, TV sets, computers, mice controllers, and, yes, printers. I can’t dump my printer into the trash like an old box from Pizza Hut. It has to be recycled, just like that 25-inch Zenith.
Back then, I checked with two firms who were listed as electronics recyclers in Granite City. I discovered one didn’t accept residential donations, and the other one didn’t recycle electronics at all. When I looked at the Madison County website the other day, both are still listed as electronics recyclers. One of them, in fact, apparently went out of business last summer.
And Goodwill Industries, which accepted the TV five years ago, no longer accepts scrap electronics of any kind. I can understand why. Let’s face it, recycling a 25-inch Zenith isn’t as easy as taking a bunch of plastic bags to your favorite supermarket, and it’s much more dangerous. Ask anyone who’s had to clean up an imploded CRT tube.
Fortunately, there was a third option. The people at the recycling center were only too happy to take the deceased printer off my hands, but once again, I was disappointed as I drove home.
It took 30 minutes and 15 miles round trip to drive to the Goodwill in Glen Carbon. It took twice as long to drive round trip to the e-cycling center on a rural stretch of Illinois 157 north of Edwardsville. No matter: it was a lovely drive along a twisty, winding section of historic Route 66, and once again I was driving a good distance to legally dispose of hazardous waste.
No wonder some people are still illegally dumping their old TVs anywhere they please, including the side and back lot of the Salvation Army in Granite City, where I donated some unwanted non-electronic merchandise later the same day. And nobody seems to be in a hurry to clean them up. Especially the imploded picture tubes.
In 2012, I wrote that electronics recyclers “have a lot to learn” about complying with state law. They still do. Déjà vu. All over again. Indeed.