(October 24, 2017) – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful today provided testimony to the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee at a public hearing concerning Senate Bill 800 Waste Electronic Equipment Recovery Act, which seeks to update the Covered Device Recycling Act, urging members to take action to ensure that every resident in the state has access to convenient and affordable trash disposal and recycling.
If passed, the Senate Bill 800 would establish a recovery and management program that includes recycling for certain waste electronic equipment; impose duties on manufacturers and retailers of certain electronic equipment; provide for the powers and duties of the Department of Environmental Protection and for enforcement; establish the Waste Electronic Equipment Fund and the State Default Plan Account; prescribe penalties; and make a related repeal.
The Covered Device Recycling Act (Act 108), enacted in 2010, prohibits the acceptance of ‘covered devices’ such as televisions, computers, computer monitors and all peripherals, at all PA solid waste facilities. This prohibits residents from putting them out at the curb for pickup. The law also stipulates that recyclers cannot charge a fee to offset the cost of proper disposal as costs for collection, transportation and recycling are to be borne by the manufacturer. A combination of these and other factors has created an imbalance of supply and demand causing many electronics collection programs to shut down leaving a growing number of PA residents without access to recycling options for their outdated electronic consumer goods, particularly old televisions and monitors.
“People have resorted to dumping TVs and other electronic devices illegally on vacant lots, in wooded areas, and over riverbanks. We are finding piles of stripped televisions-carcasses of broken plastic and shards of leaded glass scattered in open fields and on dead-end streets.” Reiter explains. “We know there is less illegal dumping in areas where there is universal access to waste and recycling collection, we know if residents cannot dispose of bulky items at the curb or at a convenient drop off center, public works crews and volunteers are more likely to see them dumped along the roads and over hillsides,” stated Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Reiter goes on to explain, “All of this is costing our communities valuable resources and is polluting our environment. Remediation of illegal dumpsites costs $614/ton with the average community cleanup costing $2,947. The illegal dumping of hazardous electronic waste, which often contains lead, cadmium and mercury, poses a threat to public health. The electronics crisis we are facing is only making matters worse.”
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with communities all across the state through a broad network which includes more than 30 county and municipal affiliates and thousands of community partners. In total, more than 2 million volunteers have cleaned up more than 126 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania roadsides, riverbanks, community parks, vacant lots, rivers and streams. Through various special collection programs, the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful network has properly disposed of 872,000 tires and recycled more than 4.8 million pounds of electronics.
“Since 1990, our organization has developed a certain level of expertise for cleaning up trash – from roadside litter to 300 ton dumpsites. Our goal, however, isn’t to clean up trash, it is to prevent these materials from being dumped in the first place,” stated Reiter.
About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to make our communities clean and beautiful. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 126 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.