Pennsylvania prepares for stewardship law

Pennsylvania prepares for stewardship law

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Pennsylvania is preparing for its e-scrap stewardship law to go into full effect. Manufacturers were required to register with the state and set up e-scrap collection and recycling programs in 2012, but the requirement residents actually dispose of unwanted electronics responsibly does not go into effect until Jan. 23.

The final component of the 2010 law prohibits desktop and laptop computers, computer monitors, television sets and other computer accessories from being disposed of in landfills. These items now need to be recycled through a county or municipal recycling program, a special collection event or through a manufacturer's mail-in program. The law already requires manufacturers operating in Pennsylvania to register with the state, pay a fee and establish a take-back program for their products. The amount of e-scrap each company is required to collect under the law is commensurate with their market share.

The Pittsburgh Business Times has a closer look at what's already happened under the law. It found that in 2010, 86 manufacturers registered with the state, but 29 were exempt because they only make computer accessories. The paper also notes that that in 2011, manufacturers were collected 35 percent of what they put on the market in 2010, by weight. The paper found that of the 57 manufacturers registered under the law, six had no sales in 2010 to measure their collection targets against. The 51 manufacturers subject to the law reported that they sold over 81.5 million pounds of covered electronics in Pennsylvania in 2010, meaning that they collected approximately 28.5 million pounds of e-scrap for recycling last year. In 2013, the collection target goes up to 50 percent.

The Morning Call reports that some of the state's large waste haulers, such as Waste Management, stopped picking up electronics left at the curb as of Jan. 1. Meanwhile, The Abington Journal reports that Waste Management will begin accepting electronics at its locations in northeast Pennsylvania.

The transition is not without a few hiccups, however. Some residents in Cumberland County will have a difficult time turning in their old electronics for recycling, according to The Sentinel, which reports that some municipalities in the county have yet to set up collection programs.

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