Electronics Banned From WV Landfills
The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) and the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board announce that effective Jan. 1 certain electronics are banned from disposal in West Virginia landfills. Organizations like the NCER, county Solid Waste Authorities, as well as state agencies such as the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and the Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) are collaborating to develop resources and programs to offer alternatives to illegal landfill disposal.
There are several opportunities for consumers to recycle electronic devices in every part of the state, but many of them have been underutilized due to lack of awareness. With electronics once again being a popular holiday gift item, there will undoubtedly be newly replaced devices that will be in need of recycling. Although it is never a good idea to waste valuable resources in electronics by placing them in the trash, households will be required to find appropriate recycling options for TVs, computers, and computer monitors in the new year as a result of the landfill ban.
The SWMB has developed a Web site at www.state.wv.us/swmb/ewaste/ that provides resources on the landfill ban and recycling options for all affected parties. The NCER also maintains a listing of local and national recycling programs on its Web site www.electronicsrecycling.org.
“The objective of keeping the hazardous materials contained in covered electronics out of landfills and conserving landfill space is admirable, but not without some challenges,” says Carol Throckmorton of the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board. “We are hoping to educate the public on alternatives to landfilling through the use of our newly developed Web site. The site lists upcoming electronic collection events around the state, a link to Earth 911 which allows consumers to enter their zip code and find the location of electronics recyclers in their communities, as well as a link to the DEP’s list of electronics manufactures and the programs they have developed for recycling the devices they manufacture.”
NCER Executive Director Jason Linnell has worked with Throckmorton and her team at the SWMB to help educate the public about available options for electronics recycling in and around the state. “Our goal is to educate the public about the upcoming landfill ban and provide consumers with information on current options for recycling old electronics,” says Linnell. “Many electronics contain materials of concern such as lead, cadmium, and mercury and the new law will prevent them from entering our landfills as well as spur more recycling activity across the state. It’s also important to remember that the more we recycle these items, the more valuable natural resources we conserve by eliminating the need to mine for new metals.”
The landfill ban is a result of Senate Bill 398, which was passed into law during the 2010 legislative session. Senate Bill 398 prohibits the disposal of Covered Electronic Devices (CEDs) in any West Virginia Landfill. CEDs are defined as televisions, laptop and desktop computers, and video display devices with screen sizes larger than four inches when measured diagonally, such as computer monitors. Effective immediately no one will be permitted to dispose of these items with their household waste.
Waste haulers are currently required to pick up televisions and computers under the Public Service Commission’s Bulky Goods Rule (WV Code Rules §150-9.6.6). Residents are advised to contact their local waste hauler to inquire about pickup of these items or to consult the SWMB or NCER Web sites for proper handling of these items themselves.
Locally, a representative from the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority says they are in the process of organizing ways to help facilitate proper collection and handling of these electronic devices. The county solid waste authority is scheduled to meet with the SWMB in the near future to continue such planning. WVDEP Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan Program Manager Sandy Rogers added there are several grants such entities are eligible to apply for such as the Litter Control Grant program, the WVDEP REAP Recycling Grant program, and the WVDEP REAP CED Grant program to help fund recycling drives and the like.
In addition to the newly passed landfill ban, West Virginia also has a law, passed in 2008, that requires manufacturers of CEDs to register with the Department of Environmental Protection annually and pay a fee. These fees are then placed into an Electronics Take-back Fund, which then goes toward awarding grants to counties and municipalities around the state that want to hold electronics recycling events. The fee paid by manufacturers can be reduced when they implement an electronics take-back program, which has had a negative effect on the size of the Take-back Fund, as more and more manufacturers are electing to offer free recycling of their own branded items.
Take-back programs must offer free recycling of a manufacturer’s devices through mail-back, a collection event, or drop-off programs. However, according to Linnell, many of these manufacturer-provided take-back programs are under-utilized as only 11 of the 22 manufacturer programs available to West Virginia residents in 2009 received a single pound during the year.
“Our hope is that more and more counties and municipalities around the state will begin to apply for CED grants through the Department of Environmental Protection,” says NCER Senior Manager Heather Smith. “The CED grants are a great way to get funding to hold a one- or two-day e-cycling event in your area, which will increase the available options needed for these electronics that are no longer allowed to be placed in our landfills.” See the WV-DEP’s Web site at www.dep.wv.gov/dlr/reap/grantprograms for more information and a complete list of grants available.
NCER is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Parkersburg. They have helped organize and execute more than 20 collection events around the state of West Virginia since 2006 and have helped to recycle almost 300 tons of electronic waste. They provide consulting to counties, municipalities, and businesses in the state looking to hire reputable electronics recyclers to prevent the illegal export of electronics to developing countries. For additional information about the NCER and any of their projects call 304-699-1008 or visit www.electronicsrecycling.org.