Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Don't trash that TV

Starting today, they have to be recycled in Pennsylvania. Ditto NJ, which has had a similar policy for a year.

Don't trash that TV

FILE - In this March 16, 2006 file photo, workers unload electronic waste from trucks, as seen from a hidden position inside of a vehicle, in Guiyu, China. Sales of household electrical gadgets will boom across the developing world in the next decade, wreaking environmental havoc if there are no new strategies to deal with the discarded TVs, cell phones and computers, a U.N. report said Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel, file)
FILE - In this March 16, 2006 file photo, workers unload electronic waste from trucks, as seen from a hidden position inside of a vehicle, in Guiyu, China. Sales of household electrical gadgets will boom across the developing world in the next decade, wreaking environmental havoc if there are no new strategies to deal with the discarded TVs, cell phones and computers, a U.N. report said Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel, file)

As of today -- and none too soon -- Pennsylvania residents will no longer be able to toss their TVs and other electronics into the trash.

Now, the devices have to be recycled. In some communities that have curbside collection of electronics, that will simply mean waiting for the collection date. Other communities have civic groups that host collection events.

For the rest of us, it means schlepping the device to a place that recycles electronics. But, thanks to the law that put all this in motion, those places are growing more numerous. They include not only dedicated electronics recycling centers, such as eForce Compliance in Philadelphia, but also big box stores such as Best Buy.

All of this is due to the Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, passed in 2010. It applies to computers, laptops, monitors, telvisions, tablets and more.

The idea is not only to reduce the hazardous waste sent to landfills, but also to encourage the reclamation of precious metals and other re-usable substances in the devices.

You can learn more, including locations of collection programs, at this state DEP web page.

Meanwhile, New Jersey, which is a year ahead of Pennsylvania on this score, reports that its legislation has "dramatically" increased the aount of e-waste recycled in the state.

Through the third quarter of 2012, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection reports, more than 62 million pounds of e-waste were diverted from the regular waste stream. 

Overall, electronic waste makes up two percent of the solid waste disposed of in New Jersey. But this portion of the waste stream is growing faster than any other. Officials believe it is because electronic techologies are changing so fast, and we all want to get the new stuff.

Click here for more info about New Jersey's program. 

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at sbauers@phillynews.com.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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