In 2010, the PA state legislature passed a law banning many electronic devices – including televisions and computers – from landfills and incinerators.  The law also requires that manufacturers of these devices pay the costs of providing residents with free and convenient recycling alternatives.

Since the law took effect in 2013, many unexpected consequences of Act 108 have resulted in the reality that while it is illegal to dispose of TVs and computers via traditional trash collection, most Pennsylvanians do not have access to free or convenient recycling options for televisions in particular.

While you may be able to find a free outlet for an old cell phone or computer, you will have to pay to recycle your old TV or monitor. Only a handful of locations in PA accept TV’s for recycling at no cost to the consumer, and these opportunities are shrinking every day. Manufacturers have found a way to avoid their responsibility for providing consumers FREE and CONVENIENT to all Pennsylvanian’s and have passed this cost onto consumers.  Without manufacturer support, PRC is forced to charge for all TV’s, monitors and even printers to cover the costs they are legally obligated to pay for.  You can learn more about recycling TV’s and other electronics with PRC at the following link: Hard-to-Recycle Collection Events

For questions, email Josh Schuneman .

Why Recycle Your Electronics?

1. It’s the law

In 2010, the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 108, the Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) establishing a recycling program for certain household electronics or covered devices. The law requires electronics manufactures and retailers to be responsible for establishing or funding recycling programs.  The manufactures work with processors to collect material from the general public at events, retail stores, and semi-permanent drop off locations throughout the state.

A “Covered device” is a covered computer device and covered television device marketed and intended for use by a consumer.  This includes:

  • Covered computer devices – A desktop or notebook computer or computer monitor or peripheral, marketed and intended for use by a consumer.
  • Covered television device – Any direct view or projection television with a viewable screen of four inches or larger whose display technology is based on cathode ray tube, plasma, liquid crystal, digital light processing, liquid crystal on silicon, silicon crystal reflective display, light emitting diode or similar technology marketed and intended for use by a consumer primarily for personal purposes.
  • Peripheral – A keyboard, printer or any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer that provides input into or output from the computer.

2. It Reduces Pollution

The Consumer Electronics Association estimated in 2014 that more than 77 million old style tube TV’s remain in American households waiting to be recycled or disposed of. This represents as much as 269,500 pounds of lead, a well documented neuro toxin.

  • If these materials are disposed of improperly they can leach into our groundwater and soil
  • If electronics are not recycled/disposed of responsibly they may end up overseas where substandard working conditions lead to even greater environmental and health impacts

E-Scrap contains toxic materials (especially the older Cathode Ray Tube or CRT TVs)

  • Lead – neurotoxin
    • Found in the glass of a CRT (4-12 lbs per TV)
    • Used in TVs to shield against radiation and increase optical quality
  • Cadmium – carcinogen
    • Found in the CRT
    • Substance that exhibits phosphorescence
  • Berryllium – carcinogen
    • Used as an electrical connector in circuit boards/insulator for microproccesors
  • PVC – plastic
    • Toxic when burned
    • Plastic found in TV casings
  • Brominated Flame Retardants – possible endocrine disruptor
    • Found in the circuit boards and in the plastic casing
  • Mercury – toxin – causes brain and kidney damage
    • Some CRTs contain mercury and many flat panel TVs contain several mercury lamps to light the screen

PRC's Role

As a  leader in resource conservation and recycling PRC works to ensure the general public has the opportunity to safely, correctly and conveniently dispose of their electronic waste including TVs, Computers and more.

PRC has further committed to the safe, ethical and responsible recycling of electronic waste through recognition by the Basel Action Network (BAN) as an e­Stewards® Enterprise. The designation recognizes cities, companies and nonprofits that take concrete measures to eliminate the export of hazardous electronic waste (e­waste) to developing countries by using Certified e­Stewards Recyclers to manage their electronic waste.

As both an advocate for the citizens of Pennsylvania and an active provider of e-scrap recycling services PRC has paid close attention to the impacts of the CDRA since it became law. It is clear that while the CDRA has been somewhat effective it has fallen far short of its goal to provide free and convenient access to all Pennsylvanian’s for the recycling of old electronics. This is especially in relation to CRT’s and TV’s. Across the Commonwealth, communities are struggling to manage these devices as there are an ever shrinking number of firms capable of recycling them.

PRC continues to work with the Department of Environmental Protection and our state legislature to find solutions which will ensure residents can find a safe and responsible recycling option for their electronic devices.