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home : opinion : opinion August 24, 2017

4/18/2017 4:09:00 AM
Was $10, Now It's FREE!
Public Works Director Don Chamblee
Public Works Director Don Chamblee

Previous price for disposal-$10 each
New price--no extra charge!
Previous price for disposal-$10 each
New price--no extra charge!

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

They became an eyesore and a topic of Facebook discussion: old tv's and CRT monitors. After North Carolina restricted their placement in landfills, counties including Lincoln were faced with a major expense in getting rid of the old electronics.  Some, like Lincoln, decided to charge extra to handle the disposal.

Some residents believed the counties were actually making money off the old electronics. That wasn't true, as our article in March Old TVs & CRT Monitors Make For Trash Talk pointed out.

The policy of charging extra for electronics disposal prompted some people to trash their old TV's and CRT monitors as litter on roadsides.  A Facebook post by City Councilman Roby Jetton prompted our query of area counties and cities about the old electronics and became the starting point for our article.  

The City of Lincolnton didn't (and still won't) pick up the old electronics as part of solid waste pickup or recycling.  Lincoln County would take them, but you had to pay an extra $10 fee and eventually you could only take them to the landfill near Crouse. Catawba and Cleveland counties absorbed the cost of the disposal and charged no extra fee to their residents. Gaston County charged $4--but would also accept the old electronics (as they do other solid waste) at their landfill on Philadelphia Church Road.

1-Lincoln Animal Hospital 300

At their recent budget workshop session, Lincoln County Commissioners instructed County Public Works Director Don Chamblee to come up with a plan for doing away with the $10 fee and for accepting the old electronics at all convenience sites. Chamblee made the presentation and the Commissioners adopted the proposal at their Monday night (April 17th) meeting.

When we published our report, some residents of Lincoln County said they would (and some said they had already) take their old TV's and monitor to Gaston County and pay $4 instead of $10. Perhaps now, the process will be reversed.

While we're certainly not suggesting that you break the law, the "no extra charge" for Lincoln County is for residents only--and not for those living in other counties--if you give your cousin or uncle who lives in Lincoln an old TV or CRT monitor and he decides he doesn't want it, there's nothing than can legally prevent him from taking it to the Lincoln County landfill or convenience sites.

The additional cost (now without the extra charge) will cost Lincoln County a significant amount in the cost of landfill and disposal operations. For the period from July 2016 through February 2017, the county's cost for recycling electronics totaled $48,176.69. The good news is that the figure declined from a total of $81,136.43 for the period of July 2015-February 2016.

The county was able to recover a small amount from the sale of some electronics. Some--not all--old desktops could be sold, but the total amount the county received from selling those in fiscal 2015-16 and so far in 2016-17 amounts to less than $1,500 for the two years.

One other note of possible good news: as we noted in our March article, when we discussed the problem with Lincolnton's Asst. Director of Public Works Rob Buff (who retired April 1st), he told us he had attended a NC League of Municipalities workshop last year in which the speaker said the problem with the old TVs and monitors is going to decline in the future. "The price of flatscreen monitors and new big screen TVs has come down, and people are replacing those old ones. They're not making those old models any more. Within the next few years, the problem will largely disappear."

For now, the $10 extra charge has disappeared.

So what does that mean to those who already paid the extra $10 to get rid of an old TV? Wrong place, wrong time! You used to have to pay to get a newspaper to read the local news, now you can get it FREE from the Lincoln Herald. We'll even email it to you daily.

Progress IS being made!


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