5 key Pennsylvania waste organizations oppose state e-waste legislation
- A group of Pennsylvania waste organizations have come together in opposition to the state's 2010 Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) and a proposed amendment, House Bill 1900, saying it will still be too difficult for residents to recycle their old electronics.
- The organizations — the Electronics Recycling Association of Pennsylvania, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, and the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America — all say they've received similar feedback about a lack of drop-off locations and inadequate pricing structure.
- The groups' recommendations include more clearly defined extended producer responsibilities, a state-organized collection site system, and shared consumer responsibility for the program which could involve fees on new devices. The groups have asked the state legislature to review its full list of concerns before passing the amendment.
According to reporting by Public Opinion, the state recycled 31,200 tons of e-waste in 2014 and the system has proven more costly than expected. The CDRA, which took effect in 2013, was supposed to help establish a better e-waste recycling system by banning electronics from landfills and requiring manufacturers to pay into a fund that covers recycling costs. Though that pricing formula hasn't kept up with declining commodity prices and has drawn numerous complaints from local governments and recyclers.
Collection centers aren't allowed to charge any kind of drop-off fee either, leading some local programs to shut down due to financial issues. While consumers may be more inclined to keep an old TV set in their basement rather than pay to recycle it, some say they might be willing to pay a small fee upfront that would cover recycling costs when it came time to dispose of the item.
Finding ways to make e-waste recycling economically viable has been an issue across the country. West Virginia reversed a landfill ban on e-waste in March, the North Carolina Senate voted to repeal the state's program last week, and multiple Illinois counties have shut down their collection centers. This week, the Basel Action Network also alleged that three more Northwest recyclers had sent their materials to unlicensed Chinese facilities.
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