E-waste recycling restrictions go into effect next month for Cumberland County residents
Dec 27, 2012 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Come Jan. 24, 2013, residents discarding outdated electronics may face an uphill battle as many municipalities across Cumberland County remain without an electronic waste management plan.
"Consumers and businesses will no longer be allowed to throw away their electronic devices with their normal trash," said Lisa Kasianowitz, information specialist and south-central community relations coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. "The electronics will have to be recycled through either a county electronic recycling program, a manufacturer mail-in or special collection event, or taken to a store that is having a collection event."
Electronics banned from landfills include desktop computers, laptop computers, computer monitors, computer accessories (mouses, printers, etc.), televisions and tablets.
Kasianowitz said the new restrictions are part of the second half of the Covered Device Recycling Act, which was enacted in 2010. She noted that the law makes environmental as well as economic sense.
"Products such as gold, silver and platinum and base metals like copper, iron and aluminum can all be taken from these devices and reused," she said. "The environmental benefit is that the heavy metals from the devices, such as lead, cadmium and mercury are no longer in the trash stream and no longer have the potential to seep into the soil."
Cumberland County and Newville Borough both say a program is "in the works" for 2013.
"We will have more information in early January," Newville Borough Manager Fred Potzer said. "We would like to establish a drop-off point for residents at the maintenance complex."
Newville belongs to an inter-municipal trash collection agreement that also includes Cooke, North Newton, South Newton, Penn, West Pennsboro, Southampton and Shippensburg townships. Potzer said the e-waste recycling program, however, will not be a joint contract.
"It's up to each municipality what they want to do," he said.
Tom Imphong, director of the Cumberland County Recycling and Waste Authority, said the county is in the planning stages of the development of a county electronic drop-off recycling site for materials listed in the Covered Device Act.
"We have been evaluating locations in the Carlisle area for several months as part of the development planning process as well as how operations for such a site would be conducted," he said. "If feasible, the goal would be to begin operating a site in 2013 that would comply with the act's requirements."
Kasianowitz said the law has a ripple effect on the economy -- affecting consumers, businesses, schools and manufacturers.
"Manufacturers have big responsibilities under this law," she said. "First, they have to establish, conduct and manage a plan to collect, transport and recycle the covered devices."
Kasianowitz said, under the law, the county is not responsible for creating these electronic recycling programs.
"The responsibility falls to the manufacturer," she said. "They must provide adequate coverage to make sure that people can recycle electronics with them. No charge is allowed to impose on the consumer if the hauler is collecting on behalf of a manufacturer, or the hauler materials are going to a manufacturer's program."
Kasianowitz said consumers living in municipalities without electronic recycling waste programs can take their e-waste to the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
"Also, Best Buy is a company that will accept electronics to recycle even if they were not purchased at the store," she said. "If people want to recycle their large TV, they need to contact Best Buy ahead of time."
Fore more information about the Covered Device Act, please visit the DEP website at www.portal.state.pa.us.
Residents can also contact the Cumberland County Recycling and Waste Authority at 717-240-6489 for the law's impact on the community and current e-waste recycling options.
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