A policy which has unofficially been in effect was made official on Tuesday night by Decatur City Council: E-waste (electronic devices) will no longer be collected by the city during regular trash collections. And the ban extends to heavy trash pickups.
With the first of two heavy trash collections this year due to come up the first week of April, Mayor John Schultz reminded council of new federal regulations which went into effect on January 1, banning electronic devices from landfills.
Trash collected by the city goes to the county transfer station and eventually ends up in the landfill in Jay County.
Banned electronics often contain mercury and other hazardous materials that can cause serious pollution concerns if they enter the environment.
Street/Sanitation Superintendent Jeremy Gilbert said after the meeting that the city has not been picking up any electronic devices since the first of the year. However, most items of that nature — television sets, computers, radios and the like — are normally set out by local residents for the heavy trash collections.
With the federal regulations in effect, the city would not have to pay to dispose of the electronic devices at the transfer station. It was estimated that it could cost the city up to $2,000 on a heavy trash collection week.
The mayor recommended that the city no longer take such items due to the cost. Councilman Ken Meyer so moved, Councilman Matt Dyer seconded and the ban went into effect on a 5-0 vote.
Gilbert said later that people who wish to dispose of electronic devices can take them to the transfer station. "Some will have a fee, some may not," he added.
Councilman Charlie Cook warned people who might try to sneak an electronic device in with regular trash that if the item is discovered at the transfer station or landfill, that it will be investigated. If it can be proven who did so, "legal action can be taken," he pointed out.