Recycling Electronic Waste Beginning Jan. 24, Law Prohibits Tvs, Computers, Other Devices from Going into State's Landfills

By Todd, Deborah M | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Recycling Electronic Waste Beginning Jan. 24, Law Prohibits Tvs, Computers, Other Devices from Going into State's Landfills


Todd, Deborah M, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Anyone planning to kick outdated electronics to the curb this year should know they'll probably be there long after the garbage truck leaves.

Starting on Jan. 24, the state's consumers, businesses and manufacturers will be tasked with keeping electronic waste out of landfills through the Pennsylvania's Covered Device Recycling Act. Enacted in 2010, the law prohibits consumers and businesses from throwing away televisions, desktop and laptop computers, computer monitors and accessories such as printers with normal trash. IPads, Kindles or other tablets also cannot be thrown away, but PDAs and cell phones are exempt from the law.

Devices covered by the law must now be recycled by consumers either through designated electronic recycling facilities, through the device's manufacturer or during special electronic recycling collection events.

Manufacturers, who take on the bulk of responsibility under the law, must establish plans to collect, transport and recycle covered devices, They must also submit annual reports detailing the total weight of devices sold nationally over the past two years and the total weight of devices sold in Pennsylvania over the past year to the state Department of Environmental Protection. If the weight of the number of covered devices collected for recycling is less than what is approved in the manufacturer's plan for a year they will face fines.

Manufacturers and municipalities must use recycling facilities with either a Responsible Recycling (R2) Practices Standard Certification, an e-Stewards Certification, or an internationally accredited third-party environmental management standard for the safe and responsible handling of covered devices.

Pennsylvania is one of 25 states that have implemented laws on electronic waste and its harm on the environment over the past decade, according to the Parkersburg, W.Va.-based National Center for Electronics Recycling. Lisa Kasianowitz, spokeswoman for the DEP, said the state's primary goal is to reduce the levels of lead, cadmium and mercury that are leaked into the environment from electronic waste. However, she said the state could also cash in on the collections by reusing other precious metals used for the devices.

"There are many economic benefits that go along with this plan. We can extract gold, silver, platinum and base materials like copper, iron and aluminum for reuse from these computers," she said.

Consumers looking for the legal way to discard aging laptops won't have to go very far, said Ms. …

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