Patriot photo by Dan Clark
There is a wall of recycled computers in the back of Computer Wizards in Kutztown.
Old TVs and computers, and other electronic devices, left on the curb will not be picked up by trash collectors, now that a state law has gone into effect.
In 2010, former Govorner Ed Rendell signed in the House Bill 708, more commonly known as the Covered Device Recycling Act. Though it was signed in 2010, the bill took effect Jan. 24, 2013.
The Covered Device Act calls for most electronic items to be recycled and for garbage collectors to leave these devices on the ground when they see them in a trash can.
Nearly every kind of modern electronic device is covered under the Covered Device Recycling Act. According to the PA Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov, the act has three categories of devices that now need to be recycled: covered computer devices, covered television devices and peripherals.
This includes Kindles and iPads along with other kinds of tablets. A peripheral is defined as a keyboard, printer or any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer that provides input into or output from the computer.
“Anything that can be plugged into a computer is included in the new law,” said Wendy Gordon Rodriguz, the owner of Kutztown based recycling company Responsible Recycling Services.
According to Rodrigiuz, the only thing that is not required to be recycled under the law are electronics that can be attached to the TV, products like a DVD player or a remote control.
“Video game counsels are a gray area in the law,” Rodriguz said.
While video game devices are apart of those that do not need to be recycled because they are external from the TV, most modern gaming systems have some sort of hard drive in them and are essentially computers themselves.
“We still accept gaming systems at the drop off events and at our drop off locations,” Rodriguz said.
The new law comes at no cost to local residents and saves them money from what residents would be paying without the law.
“I used to charge $22 for picking up a TV,” Rodriguz said. “Now the manufacturer pays the cost of the recycling.”
Once the recycling is picked up, it is sent to an R2 certified recycling company to be demanufactured.
“We are working our way to being an R2 certified company,” Rodriguz said.
At the R2 facility the electronics are graded for reuse and if they cannot be reused they are taken apart and the basic components are sent to certified vendors in the area.
“90 to 95 percent of what comes in is taken apart,” said Charles Nygard of eForce Compliance, a R2 certified recycling company in Philadelphia.
Since the law has been enacted, there have been many recycling events around the state where locals can drop off their unwanted or broken electronics to be recycled free of charge.
The Kutztown School District will have a recycling event at the Greenwich Elementary School on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Maxatawny Township will host an event on Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Maxatawny Township building.
“All of the events are on weekends so that people don’t have to worry about taking off from work,” Rodriguz said.
According to Kutztown Borough Manager Gabriel Khalife, the borough is taking steps to educate the public on the new law so that they know what to do with electronic devices.
“People won’t be able to leave their devices curbside because they won’t be able to pick up the devices and bring them to the landfill,” Khalife said.
Kutztown residents do not need to wait for a recycling event to discard their unwanted electronics, they can drop them off at Computer Wizards on W. Main Street in Kutztown. The computer business serves as a drop-off site for Responsible Recycling Services. The drop-off hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday.