Ban on electronics in landfills an environmental disaster?

Ban on electronics in landfills an environmental disaster? »Play Video

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Tires, beer bottles, a gun safe: David Strahan has found just about everything in the Willamette River. 

Strahan is boiling over his latest discovery.  On Monday, he found a computer monitor and hard drive in a creek that feeds in the Mill Race, which flows into the river.

"If the monitor was broken, I couldn't see it because it was face down," said Strahan, a volunteer with Willamette River Keepers. "Powdered lead is immediately dispersed into the water and there's no getting it back."

Strahan fears illegal dumping will get far worse when a new law takes effect in January.

The law bans Covered Electronic Devices, or CEDs, from landfills.  CEDs are television sets, monitors, computers and laptops.  Sanitation companies can face steep fines if a CED is traced back to their trucks, so they will no longer pick electronics up.  Strahan worries people will dtich their electronics in rivers and woods instead.

The law is designed to promote recycling.  Some companies currently charge to recycle CEDs, but the cost will be passed on to the manufacturer.

Lorraine Kerwood of Next Step Recycling hopes that will encourage people to recycle their items.

"We're doing the best we can to let the public know there's no need to do anything other than the right thing with this material, which is bring it to next step and we'll handle it as soon as it crosses our threshold."

Lane County began offering free e-waste drop-off sites this year, but illegal dumping continues