New law: Don't toss electronics with the trash

Mandatory electronics recycling is underway


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— The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reminding consumers and businesses that they are no longer be able to throw away their electronic devices with their trash.

Passed in 2010, the Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act requires that consumers and businesses not dispose of covered devices, such as computers, laptops, computer monitors, televisions and tablets with their trash. This means that trash haulers will no longer take covered devices unless the municipality has a curbside electronics collection program that ultimately sends the devices to an electronics recycler. The law took effect Jan. 24.

“This law is an important step toward further reducing the amount of waste disposed in our landfills,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “There will be a host of positive impacts from this law, such as deriving economic benefits from precious metals found in electronics, eliminating heavy metals in the environment and encouraging environmental stewardship.”

Under the new law, the covered devices and their components must be properly recycled and may not be taken to, or accepted by, landfills or other solid waste disposal facilities for disposal.

The law also requires that manufacturers of the covered devices provide for the collection, transportation and recycling of these devices by establishing one-day events, permanent collection programs or mail-back programs for consumers. This is offered to consumers at no cost. Manufacturers must work with an electronics recycler that is properly permitted and certified to handle and process electronic waste.

Manufacturers must register their covered device brands with DEP and attach brand labels to those devices. Additionally, retailers who sell electronic covered devices may only sell devices with a manufacturer’s brand that is registered with DEP.

Consumers can also continue to recycle their electronics through a county or municipal electronic recycling program, if one is available. It is recommended that before taking any electronics to collection points or drop-off locations, consumers should first contact that location to see what types of electronics they accept.

Consumers can find more information on registered manufacturers and where to recycle their covered devices at www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Electronics Recycling.

Additional recycling information is available from county recycling coordinators, whose contact information can be found on DEP’s website, keyword: recycle, or through the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-346-4242.

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