Essential Pittsburgh
4:17 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Pennsylvania's E-Waste Recycling: A Program in Transition

TVs are one of the most difficult devices to recycle because of the hazardous substances and non-reusable components.
Credit Donna Mazza-PA Resource Council / Flickr

This January saw the implementation of a ban on curbside pickups of electronic waste such as television sets, computer monitors and laptops.

The statewide ban, passed in 2010 as part of the Covered Device Recycling Act, called for all E-Waste to be taken to approved recycling drop-off sites.The process was meant to be simple, but recent difficulties have proven that not to be the case.

Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council Dave Mazza points to the high number of electronic devices sold each year as a contributor to the problem. “Every time you buy something new you have to get rid of something old,” he said. In the first year of the ban, the market has been flooded by E-Waste coming into approved recycling points. The problem culminated in Goodwill no longer accepting television donations after reaching the recycler’s limit of 1.5 million pounds.

Ned Eldridge, president and CEO of eLoop llc, says those limits are based on relationships that recyclers set with appliance manufacturers, who provide the funding for proper disposal.

"To represent a manufacturer you have to have specific credentials," Eldridge said. "We don't export material to developing countries, we don't throw anything in a landfill and we have a fully vetted chain of custody."