1. The Law Affects 100% But Only Serves 25%
Since 2013, PA’s Covered Device Recycling Act has made it illegal for every Pennsylvanian to send a TV to a landfill, yet only 25% of residents currently have access to free recycling of their televisions. Click here for a list of all manufacturer collection sites published by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (NOT ALL SITES ACCEPT TV’S – CALL FIRST)
2. If It’s Not Your Concern Today, It Will Be Soon
TV makers assume a 5-to-7-year replacement cycle for televisions, according to the Consumer Technology Association. So if you don’t need to dispose of a TV this year, you’re bound to face the dilemma in the near future.
3. TVs Account For 74% of E-Waste Collected at PRC Events
In 2015, PRC collected 500,000 pounds of e-waste at 6 collection events – with TVs representing 74% of the 250 tons of material dropped off by 3,500 households.
4. Demand is Growing; Volume of TVs Doubled in 2 Years
The volume of TVs dropped off at PRC e-waste collections has doubled in the past 2 years: 250 tons of e-waste collected in 2015 vs. 125 tons collected in 2013. During the first 11 years of PRC’s collection program, it collected a total of 1 million pounds of electronics – but it collected ½ million pounds in 2015 alone!
5. Recyclers Bear the Brunt of Expense
While PA is 1 of 25 states with legislation to keep e-waste out of landfills, PA is 1 of only 5 states where the law has caused recyclers to bear the brunt of expense. Recyclers say the per-pound fees they receive from manufacturers to collect electronics on their behalf are flat and the prices of selling metals and other parts have declined.
6. Formula for Quota is Unrealistic
The law specifies that each electronics manufacturer must collect for recycling an amount of electronics whose weight is equal to what it sold in the state two years earlier. Experts point out that old electronics are much heavier than products manufacturers sold two years ago, setting the law’s weight requirements too low. (i.e. a cathode-ray tube TV produced a decade ago is now ready for disposal but the weight formula accounts for a much lighter flatscreen TV produced two years ago)
7. The Environment is at Risk
Televisions are more expensive to recycle because only a few companies worldwide take the glass from lead-based cathode-ray tubes in old models and computer monitors. Estimates show 77 million CRT televisions are being stockpiled in U.S. homes, pointing to a need to responsibly recycle 269,000 tons of lead (average of 7 pounds of lead per TV).
8. Law Has Not Resulted in A Dependable Infrastructure
Act 108 required the manufacturers of TVs and computers to pay the costs of providing residents with free and convenient recycling alternatives. But the law has not led to the creation of a dependable, statewide infrastructure for local governments, collectors and recyclers to provide recycling services continually, according to a 2015 DEP report presented to the PA General Assembly. This failure is the direct result of manufacturers underfunding the cost of recycling.
9. Disposal Options are Quickly Shrinking
Best Buy, which began offering free electronics recycling in 2009, stopped taking TVs and computer monitors in Pennsylvania in February 2016. Construction Junction and Goodwill have suspended TV recycling, and of Allegheny County’s 130 municipalities, only 35 offer electronics recycling through their waste haulers.
10. Catch-22 – Many Accepting “Working Televisions Only”
While most residents are seeking disposal options for TVs that are no longer in working condition, individuals must investigate limitations. In 5 southeastern PA counties, only 21% of manufacturer collection locations will accept non-working TVs with no restrictions.
11. PRC is Committed to “E-Stewards” Certification
The electronics recycling industry has the potential to do great harm to public health and to the environment. Irresponsible recyclers have been caught shipping these hazardous materials to Third World nations that are unable to regulate their handling. As a result, rigorous third-party certification programs have been developed to ensure people and the environment are protected from these risks. PRC is committed to working only with recyclers who meet the strict requirements of the eStewards certification. While other certification standards exist, only eStewards ensures both people AND the environment are protected.
12. Residents Must Speak Up to Ask Legislature To Amend “Act 108”
Contact your state senator and representative asap to tell them to support an amendment to the law that ensures all residents of PA have convenient and free access to recycling their TVs.