Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Launches Effort to Improve e-Waste Recycling and Disposal

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful recently provided testimony to the State of Pennsylvania Joint House-Senate Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee at a public hearing concerning the Covered Device Recycling Act (Act 108 of 2010), urging legislators to take action to fix the law while providing residents information they need to properly manage their electronic waste, such as old TVs and computer monitors, commonly referred to as e-waste. The original law is having unintended consequences, leaving residents with little or no options to legally dispose of these items.

“People have resorted to dumping TVs and other electronic devices illegally on vacant lots, in wooded areas, and over riverbanks," said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. "We are finding piles of stripped televisions-carcasses of broken plastic and shards of leaded glass scattered in open fields and on dead-end streets. We know there is less illegal dumping in areas where there is universal access to waste and recycling collection. And we know if residents cannot dispose of bulky items at the curb or at a convenient drop-off center, public works crews and volunteers are more likely to see them dumped along the roads and over hillsides.”

Reiter added, “All of this is costing our communities valuable resources and is polluting our environment. Remediation of illegal dumpsites costs $614/ton with the average community cleanup costing $2,947. The illegal dumping of hazardous electronic waste, which often contains lead, cadmium and mercury, poses a threat to public health. The electronics crisis we are facing is only making matters worse.”

To help Pennsylvanian’s better understand Act 108, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has launched www.eWastePA.org, a consumer resource for electronics recycling in Pennsylvania.

“Our goal is to educate consumers about the law itself, explain why there is value in recycling those materials, and why it is important to handle these materials properly," said Reiter. "The site shares what resources are available to consumers, how to do the right thing, and urges them -- if there is no outlet -- to hold on to the materials until the law is fixed. We know Pennsylvanians want to do the right thing and dispose of their e-waste properly.”