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Old electronics? Don’t junk them; recycle them this Saturday

May 2, 2012

Donna Cooper, Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator for the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority, displays a printer, an example of what can be recycled during Saturday’s electronics collection. (Photo by Natalie Bruzda)

BROOKVILLE — Jefferson County residents who have old or unused electronics collecting dust in their attics will have an opportunity to dispose of them — properly.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority will hold an electronics collection for all county residents at two locations, Gruda Metals and Miller Welding.

“The big thing is that we’re trying to help the residents of Jefferson County recycle electronics properly because they contain hazardous materials,” Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator Donna Cooper said. “We don’t want to see them going over the hill or in the trash.”

By Jan. 1, 2013, waste haulers will not be allowed to collect covered devices at the curb.

At that time, landfills will no longer accept covered devices, which include desktop computers, monitors, laptops, televisions and computer peripherals, of which printers, scanners, computer mice, modems and wires are considered.

“So right now, as a homeowner and resident of Jefferson County, if you have a TV, you can still put it in the landfill, but that won’t be the case next January,” Cooper said.

This is the first electronics collection the authority has held in about seven years.

In 2003, the authority participated in a tri-county electronics collection, with Elk and Clearfield counties, during which Jefferson County collected around 29,000 pounds of items.

And in November 2005, Jefferson County held its own weeklong collection, bringing in an additional 9,500 pounds.

“For the size of the county we have, the (2003) collection was a good turnout,” she said. “We’ll probably exceed the 29,000 pounds on Saturday’s collection, but by how much, we don’t know.”

Cooper said electronics collections would have continued over the past seven years if the authority had the funds.

But Saturday’s collection has been made possible by the Covered Device Recycling Act, which was passed by the state legislature in 2010.

According to Cooper, the act maintains that the manufacturer of covered devices must register the brands they wish to sell in Pennsylvania with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and must take responsibility to recycle an equal amount in weight with what they want to sell.

Therefore, if a manufacturer sells one million pounds, it has to recycle one million pounds.

“It basically forces the manufacturer into recycling,” Cooper said. “The collection is absolutely free. By law, we’re not allowed to charge to recycle any covered device so it wouldn’t become an additional responsibility on the part of the consumer.”

The Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority partnered with WeRecycle — an e-steward certified company — to host the collection.

An e-steward certified electronics recycler must have achieved or maintained a third-party accreditation that it is responsible for what it collects.

Some of the guidelines include prohibiting all toxic waste from being disposed of in solid waste landfills and incinerators and requiring full compliance with existing international hazardous waste treaties for exports and imports of electronics. The accreditation specifically prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.

Cooper said electronics contain hazardous materials, including cadmium; chromium; beryllium; and mercury.

“There are plenty of toxic materials inside electronics,” she said.

Also residents need not be hesitant about recycling computers or laptops due to data on those devices, Cooper said.

The authority’s contract with WeRecycle says that a person’s data won’t be jeopardized, and once the recycler takes possession of the computer, the hard drive will be sanitized, which means information will be deleted.

Although covered materials are the only items that will not be collected by waste haulers beginning Jan. 1, 2013, WeRecycle has the ability to collect many other materials Saturday as well, including cell phones, pagers, microwaves, medical equipment, VCRs and DVD players.

“What can be recycled, will be recycled, but what cannot be, will be disposed of properly,” Cooper said. “We’re giving county residents a chance to do this properly.”

WHAT TO BRING:

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority will hold an electronics collection for all county residents at two locations, Gruda Metals in Stump Creek and Miller Welding in Brookville.

What to bring:
• Answering machines.
• Camcorders.
• CD players.
• Cell phones.
• Computers (desktop and laptop).
• Computer accessories.
• Computer monitors.
• Docking stations.
• Electric typewriters.
• Fax machines.
• Game consoles and controllers.
• Medical equipment.
• Microwaves.
• Pagers.
• Printers.
• Radios.
• Rechargeable batteries.
• Remote controls.
• Scanners.
• Stereos.
• Tape players.
• Telephones and equipment.
• Televisions.
• Testing equipment.
• Toner and ink cartridges.
• VCR and DVD players.

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