Cumberland County looks toward e-cycling facility

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland County is taking steps to stop illegal electronics dumping.

Computers and TVs cannot be thrown out in the trash. Instead, they have to be taken to a recycling center. Cumberland County does not have one, and many others in the Midstate restrict what they accept.

Now, county officials are looking to change that.

The Computer Barn is one of the few places in Cumberland County that collects outdated electronics; all but the most outdated, which are tube TVs.

“The cost is so high to get rid of them, and the certified recycler that we send our stuff to doesn’t want them, like most recyclers, because they can’t get rid of them,” owner Ned Kerstetter said.

The result is that TVs often are illegally dumped on street curbs or in the woods, but this is what you might hear if you call Cumberland County for an alternative:

“The only thing that we can tell you, and I know this is not a good answer, is hold onto it for the time being because we’re hoping that some changes are going to come,” county recycling coordinator Justin Miller said.

Like its neighbors in Dauphin and Lancaster counties, Cumberland County is looking to save up for an e-cycling collection facility. The county used to host drop-off events, but that changed in 2010 when Pennsylvania passed a law that requires technology manufacturers collect a certain amount of recyclables they sell.

It turns out, manufacturers met that requirement easily.

“Commodities, what we get paid, went way down, and the things we used to ship out for free, we now get charged,” Kerstetter said, explaining the ripple effect.

Miller says in order to pay for what would be a $700,000 per year collection and sorting facility, people would have to pay to drop off their goods so the county could pay a recycling company to process it all. They’re asking for state money and policy change before that happens.

“Either change the legislation to require the manufacturers to take a more realistic role in reaccepting the materials, or they need to allow for alternate disposal of the materials,” county commissioner Gary Eichelberger said.

County leaders are pushing state leaders to change that 2010 law to hold manufacturers more accountable. They are also proposing a temporary lift on the law that bans people from trashing their technology, since Pennsylvania’s waste system can handle that type of material.

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