Op/Ed: Chester County residents have E-cycling options

While new law mandates recycling of electronics, there are many simple options available

By Ryan Costello, Chester County Commissioner


Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello

A new law in Pennsylvania mandates the safe disposal of electronic equipment, now known as E-waste. No longer will county residents be able to just put a television, computer and other such devices at the curb for the refuse collectors.

There is a good reason behind this law as improper disposal of the equipment in landfills can cause health problems and harm our environment. Toxic materials, such as lead and mercury, are contained in some of the items.  The law went into effect on January 24 and forbids the material being placed in municipal waste. The items must be recycled.

One of the sponsors of the Pennsylvania law was State Representative Chris Ross of Chester County.  The law created a statewide program to recycle the E-waste. The covered devices include desktop and notebook computers, computer monitors, keyboards, computer printers and televisions.

How can Chester County residents comply with the new law? Information has been gathered by the Chester County Solid Waste Authority on where E-waste can be recycled and community programs. For the past year the authority has been notifying waste haulers of the new regulations.  The information can be viewed at http://www.chestercswa.org/index.aspx?nid=121. Also, the Commonwealth of Information has information at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/electronics_recycling_management_program/20342.

Some of the local recycling programs are scheduled for April, including one on April 13 at the CAT Pickering campus in Phoenixville and another one at Octorara High School on April 20. Both events take place from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. State Representative Duane Milne is hosting a shredding and recycling day on April 27 at Penn State Great Valley. For details see http://www.duanemilne.com/2013_RecyclingEvent.aspx.

The Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority is open six days for E-waste recycling. The charge there is $5.00 for up to 140 pounds.

Manufacturers of computer devices and televisions are directed to provide a way to collect, transport and recycle items. They are mandated to file plans with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

In Chester County, we all have reason to be proud of our environmental record and our efforts to preserve the beauty of our county. Chester County is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. By complying with the new E-waste recycling law, we will enhance the quality of life in the county.

Ryan Costello is the chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners.

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