‘E-recycling’ to begin in Jan.
December 26, 2012
Consumer electronics retailers, recycling centers and community recycling events all will provide Butler County residents a place to dispose of discarded electronics when a state law prohibiting Pennsylvania residents from throwing those items in the trash goes into effect on Jan. 24, The state Covered Device Recycling Act of 2010 is designed to reduce overall waste in landfills and to limit the hazardous materials in electronics, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, from contaminating soils. The disposal ban covers desktop and notebook computers and computer monitors, any TV with a screen larger than 4 inches and peripheral devices like keyboards and printers. Although the state Department of Environmental Protection website, www.depweb.state.pa.us, lists electronics recycling collection programs and the sites for many counties in Pennsylvania, Butler County is not among them. Sheryl Kelly, county recycling and waste management coordinator, said she is compiling a list of recycling events and locations that will be posted on the department’s website, www.recyclebutler.us, before the new law takes effect. The county is waiting for DEP approval before announcing its community recycling events in 2013. “We have the countywide collections. There were 10 collections in 2012, and there will be 14 (events in 2013),” Kelly said. County-sponsored collections will accept both electronics and hazardous materials, but charge a small fee because a contractor provides the recycling service. Generally, registration is encouraged. Kelly said electronics retailer Best Buy in Cranberry Township is “a good option because it’s free (to return electronics there).” Best Buy’s customer service hot line confirmed the retailer will accept not only most major electronics, but also car audio and video, GPS, appliances and even stands and mounts for TVs and computers, all for free. Goodwill, which has a donation site in Cranberry, also will accept computer equipment for recycling, a store manager said. Some of that recycling is done through a Dell Reconnect program. “Before you attempt to recycle at any location, call the place first, just to make sure they haven’t changed the policy,” Kelly said. For those seeking a more charitable solution and a tax write-off to electronics disposal, the National Christina Foundation accepts used computers, software, peripherals and other business technology. The foundation provides technology to give people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged individuals the opportunity to lead more independent lives. The nonprofit offers free pick-up service for several items or drop-off, with the nearest donation center being Glade Run Lutheran Services in Zelienople. For guidelines and locations, visit www.cristina.org/. A number of paid services will accept old technology for recycling, guaranteeing to destroy inoperable hard drives so all data and software are unrecoverable. Vogel Disposal Service, which is the contracted waste hauler for Butler, will offer both drop-off and pick-up technology recycling services, including bulk pick-up for businesses. “This new law is about not passing on our waste problem to future generations,” Vogel said. “Recycling is an integral part of being a responsible member of a community.” Even though the law goes into effect on Jan. 24, Vogel will stop accepting electronics on Jan. 1, Vogel said.