- Pennsylvania's York County Solid Waste Authority has canceled its electronics recycling program, largely triggered by a state law, "The Covered Device Recycling Act of 2010," or Act 108. The law established stipulations for recycling computers and other electronics that made it economically impossible for e-cyclers to handle the volume of waste generated, according to the Authority.
- As a result, a Best Buy in Springettsbury Township has become inundated with old electronics, many of which are illegally dumped outside the store, said Best Buy general manager Troy Combs. The store’s workers are hauling up to three times more electronic waste per day than when the e-cycling program was up and running.
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) acknowledged “the [Covered Device Recycling] act needs to be fixed," and is working with the legislature to do so. The Agency does not know when changes to the law will take place.
Municipalities are struggling to find ways to work with e-cyclers due to an abundance of hard-to-recycle electronics that rapidly become obsolete and retain very little value. Some of these companies have filed for bankruptcy and or closed multiple e-cycling sites due to financial challenges.
In Pennsylvania, Act 108 has added to the problem, especially in Franklin, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties who have all canceled recycling programs in recent years, according to Ellen O'Connor, community services division manager at of the county’s Solid Waste Authority.
Meanwhile, authorities are concerned that hazardous materials, such as leaded glass or mercury from improperly disposed of laptops and TVs could leech into the ecosystem.
"You're talking about stuff that really shouldn't end up in landfills," said DEP press secretary Neil Shader. He added that the law, which required manufacturers and retailers to help with recycling efforts, was well-intended, but had unplanned results.
As the DEP works with legislators to revamp the law, Best Buy is trying to take up some of the slack, asking the public to bring recyclable items inside, to bring no more than three items per visit, and to bring them on Mondays or Tuesdays.