TCE discovers illegal cyber dump
Texas Campaign for the Environment revealed the location of an illegal computer dumping ground in northeast Travis Co. Monday, driving home its point that the computer industry needs to set up a comprehensive electronic waste recycling program. The dump contains 20 computers, some of which had asset tags identifying them as former property of the Del Valle Independent School District and the Texas Water Commission. TCE Director Robin Schneider said the dump, on the MoKan right-of-way across from City Produce at 10300 Springdale, has been reported to the Travis Co. Sheriff's Office, which promised an investigation.
"This is the first illegal dump of computers [in Travis Co.] I have seen," Schneider said. "Because the asset tags on the computers were for Del Valle ISD and the Texas Water Commission, it shows [residents] need to be more aware of where our computers are going. We don't think these computers belonged on the roadside, or in the nearby landfill. We need a free and easy take-back system in place" so that such dumping will not occur.
Schneider said that her organization has leads on the location of other such dumps. "We've heard rumors of illegal dumps in rural areas. It's the dream example of how there is no good place in Travis County for our electronic waste to go yet. We need a system in place to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem. In the meantime, the most responsible thing to do is hold on to our stuff, unless you're going to Dallas to the one good place in Texas for handling this material."
TCE has directed the brunt of its computer take-back criticisms at Round Rock-based Dell Inc., the most successful personal computer company in the world, arguing that Dell's direct-sales system could also serve as the basis for an easily monitored, free take-back system. Dell has instead implemented a fee-based system, which TCE says consumers will be reluctant to use.
"There were Dells in the mix" in the dump, Schneider noted. "I counted more Dells than anything else."