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PA Recycling Markets Center Survey: 6.8 Million Tube TVs, CRTs In PA To Be Recycled

The PA Recycling Markets Center Friday released the results of a survey showing there are about 6.8 million tube TVs and CRT monitors with an estimated weight of 396 million pounds remaining in Pennsylvania that will at some point need to be recycled through an electronics waste recycling program.

That number is actually down from an estimated 8.2 million tube TVs and CRT monitors from a 2015 survey.

The survey also found there are a total of about 694 million electronic devices-- computers, printers, e-readers, tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc.--  weighing about 1 billion pounds in the Commonwealth that could be available for recycling in the coming years.

The Center’s survey said only 32 collection sites statewide accept all covered electronic devices at no charge to the consumer for recycling.

Part of the survey also looked at public awareness of electronics waste recycling, finding-

-- Less than half of Pennsylvanians-- 44.4 percent-- know where to recycle electronics;

-- 65 percent of Pennsylvanians are willing to travel 10 miles or less to recycle electronics; and

-- 50 percent of Pennsylvanians reported they do not want to pay anything to recycle their electronics.

Center Analysis

The PA Recycling Markets Center offered these observations from the survey results and its other work on the electronics waste recycling issue--

With few “no charge” collection sites across the state that accept all electronics specified in Pennsylvania’s recycling law, the relatively short distance the public is willing to travel and half of Pennsylvanians not willing to accept an electronics recycling charge, electronics recycling is challenging at best.

It is important to know this survey did not define consumer intent and does not account for when a Pennsylvanian may choose to recycle their electronic device, it may be this year or any other time in the future.

With limited locations that are reasonably accessible for recovery of lead-glass computer monitors and tube TVs and with significant amounts of these and newer electronics in our recycling, it is easily demonstrated why Pennsylvania needs a consolidated electronics recycling law.

Unfortunately, under Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Recycling Act, Act 108 of 2010, consumer outlets for recycling of waste electronics continues to decline. 

According to Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center 2016 findings, only 32 collection sites statewide accept all covered electronic devices at no charge to the consumer as specified in the Act.  

What is needed to find a solution that provides relief to this economy?  We offer a few ideas to consider:

-- A consolidated, specific law, that is not deeply layered, that does not lead to interpretation;

-- Fair, competitive, and balanced criteria for establishing and sustaining collection, transportation, and recovery of electronics;

-- Expanded options for management of tube TV and computer monitor lead-containing glass;

-- Require reporting details that allow for data tracking and trend analysis, such that business forecasting and scientific review can be done; and

-- Offer sound, organized, infrastructure such that a disposal ban of electronics waste is not a ban without a plan.

Background On The Issue

On May 9, Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester), the original sponsor of the Covered Device Recycling Act, introduced House Bill 1900 with some potential fixes to the e-waste recycling program.

On March 30, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a change in policy saying it would allow electronics waste recyclers to charge consumers a fee for recycling, as long as the material collected did not count toward the mandated recycling programs established in the Covered Device Recycling Act.

On March 21 the Joint House-Senate Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee held a public hearing on the issue where almost all witnesses agreed the state’s Electronics Waste Recycling Program has all but collapsed.

Also in March, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful launched a new website-- to educate the public on their electronic waste recycling options.

The PA Resources Council urged the public to call legislators in February encouraging them to keep free and convenient access to electronics waste a priority.

In February, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful wrote to every member of the House and Senate saying 2016 could see record-breaking dumping of electronics waste because free recycling options are simply not available.

In January, the Electronics Recycling Association of PA issued a call for action to make changes to the electronics waste recycling law saying the existing program is broken and shrinking dramatically.

To date, no action has been taken by either the House or Senate on potential fixes for Pennsylvania’s electronics waste recycling program.

For more information on the existing e-waste recycling program, visit DEP’s Covered Device Recycling Act webpage.


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