Friday, January 22, 2016

2014 DEP Report To General Assembly Documented Problems With E-Waste Recycling Law

Pennsylvania’s electronics waste recycling law passed with fanfare in 2010, but so far has failed to provide the robust electronics recycling opportunities intended by its supporters.  A 2014 report on the program to the General Assembly by the Department of Environmental Protection confirms these findings.
The report said in part, “After almost four years of implementation, the CDRA has not stimulated a dependable statewide infrastructure to ensure local governments, collectors, and recyclers are able to operate and provide recycling services on a continuing basis.
“Televisions and computer monitors that contain cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are especially problematic for recycling due to the leaded glass in the CRTs, absence of low-cost recycling technology, and limited number of CRT processors.
“Nevertheless, the demand for opportunities to recycle old televisions continues to be high. Reports indicate that, by weight, 70 to 80 percent of the materials available for recycling are CRT-containing electronics. As of August 2015, 43 percent of all calls received by the statewide recycling hotline pertained to access issues for recycling of televisions.”
Pennsylvania’s most populous counties: Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery have, in fact, discontinued electronics recycling, others have operated recycling programs without support from the recycling law because the system is broken.
DEP notified the hardware manufacturers who fund the program last year that 18 counties had no electronics recycling opportunities: Armstrong, Bucks, Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Delaware, Huntingdon, Montgomery, Montour, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming.
eLoop LLC, a major Western PA e-waste recycler, said in December it has pulled out of the state’s e-waste recycling program in 8 counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Franklin, Huntingdon, Indiana, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
There will be even more counties without e-waste recycling programs this year.
Last year Pennsylvania had about 560 electronics e-waste recycling locations, down from close to 1,000 during the first years of the program.
In the report, DEP said, “...the CDRA requires manufacturer programs to provide recycling access to 85 percent of the population; however, the landfill ban prohibiting the landfilling of covered devices applies to 100 percent of the population.
“These provisions in the CDRA result in a confounding situation for citizens that may have limited or no opportunities for recycling but are faced with a landfill ban on the material they wish to discard.”
Clearly, today’s e-waste recycling program is nowhere near meeting the requirement in the law for 85 percent of the state’s population to be covered by the program.
DEP reported many of these same problems to the General Assembly in a previous report.
For background on the recycling electronics law, visit DEP’s Electronics Recycling webpage.
Related Stories:
Analysis: Electronics Recycling Effort Shrinking In PA, The Law Needs To Be Fixed

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