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Environment & Energy

Group Offers New E-Waste Recycling Events In The Pittsburgh Area

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Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council
A Pennsylvania Resources Council volunteer collects electronic waste at an event last year.

Electronic waste — especially larger items like computer monitors and televisions — are tough to recycle responsibly, but Pennsylvania Resources Council is offering Pittsburgh-area residents some help.

For the first time, PRC is holding weekday e-waste-only recycling collections. The eight pop-up events in May, at Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling North Hills and South Hills locations, will accept everything from cell phones, computer towers and keyboards to monitors, TVs, and game consoles. Drop-off is free for most items, with a fee for TVs, monitors, and printers.

PRC has held collection events for hard-to-recycle items for years, but they are typically on Saturdays, and also include collection of things like tires and appliances.

“We’ve really seen the need for more weekday options, more options for folks who can’t make those Saturday events, to be able to responsibly recycle their electronic waste,” said PRC program manager Emily Potoczny. “Electronic waste, and televisions in particular, are some of the items we most commonly see folks struggling to find a responsible place to dispose of.”

Municipalities do not collect much electronic waste as part of regular trash or recycling pickup. And private recycling companies’ fees for TVs and computer monitors — sometimes based on the appliance’s weight, or diagonal screen inches — dissuade many, so TVs in particular are often illegally dumped.

Before the pandemic, all PRC’s collection events were first-come-first-serve. Last year, health and safety precautions led the group to require pre-registration for drop-offs, said Potoczny. But that also helped reduce wait times at the events, which regularly drew 500 or more cars, she said.

It’s important to recycle rather than landfill e-waste because it typically contains toxic heavy metals like cadmium and mercury that can leach into soil and groundwater. “We want to keep those out of the landfill and out of the environment in general,” she said. Such materials can then be reused rather than mining new materials. Some electronics can even be reconditioned for reuse.

After PRC collects the items, they’ll be taken to eLoop LLC, in Export, for on-site processing, Potoczny said.

The collection fees for selected items are $5 for printers; $20 for all computer monitors; $30 for televisions; and $40 for console or rear-projection TVs.

This collection does not accept batteries, CFLs, or media like VHS or cassette tapes or DVDs.

Collection dates are May 4, 6, 11, and 13 at Michael Brothers, 408 Hoffman Road, in Reserve Township; and May 18, 20, 25, and 27 at Michael Brothers, 901 Horning Road, near South Park. Each event lasts four hours, and start times vary.

For more information, or to register, see www.prc.org.