In Sterling, residents have been able to drop off TVs, computers and other electronic waste at the Public Works building at 1605 Avenue L since June 2016. After volunteers, led by the Sauk Valley Landlord Association, put together one-time cleanup events for a couple of years in Rock Falls, the Rock Falls Recycling Center was set up in November 2017, on city property at 2400 First Ave.

Both cities made arrangements for URT Solutions of Janesville, Wisconsin to haul the waste from the sites. Thanks to a fund that had been set up by electronics manufacturers, much of the cost had been picked up and residents could drop off items for free.

A new law, effective in January, has changed the state’s electronic waste recycling program. To be eligible for the program and money from the manufacturer’s fund in 2019, counties had to opt into the program by March 2018. They also had to make plans to eventually set up a single countywide drop-off site or prove that at least four collection events were held at additional sites.

County Board Chairman Jim Duffy said he had no knowledge of the changes or the opt-in requirements. The county doesn’t offer recycling services. For 2019, 58 municipalities, including Ogle and Carroll counties, opted into the program.

County Administrator Joel Horn also said no information had been received about the 2019 program from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Both cities only recently found out about the changes to the program. Rock Falls Alderman Rod Kleckler, also president of the Sauk Valley Landlord Association, said he had been submitting forms each year to tap into the manufacturer’s fund.

“Because Moring Disposal didn’t provide the service, we were considered an underserved community and funds were available,” Kleckler said. “We were notified a few weeks ago by the hauling company that the county hadn’t opted into the program.”

Kleckler was told that URT could still pick up the waste, but the city would have to foot the bill. There would be a $700 hauling fee for each truckload, plus fuel reimbursement and an additional charge of 15 cents for each pound of waste taken away.

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