Pennsylvania gets tough on electronic waste, Philly wins national recycling award

Image via staples.comMayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Corbett may not always see eye-to-eye, but they can agree on one thing: more recycling.

As of January 24, Pennsylvania has implemented provisions for handling electronic waste, which when improperly disposed can leach heavy metals and toxins into our land and water supply. This Governor’s Covered Device Act, a bipartisan effort signed into law over two years ago, most notably bans the disposal of televisions, computers and other common household electronics in state landfills. Electronics manufacturers and municipalities must now provide Pennsylvanians with easily accessible drop-off points for their old electronics and process them in specially certified recycling facilities. Garbage trucks will no longer accept electronic waste.

Not sure where to take your old television or computer? In addition to the hazardous waste recycling centers operated by the Philadelphia Streets Department, there are numerous local private and charitable organizations, such as Goodwill Keystone in Southeastern PA and eForce Compliance, that recycle old electronics, either for donation or disposal. The Streets Department also hosts frequent public events for residents to dispose of their old electronics.

But it’s not just the state government getting in on the recycling action.

Earlier this month, the City of Philadelphia and Recylebank were awarded the Outstanding Public-Private Partnership award by the United States Conference of Mayors. Since partnering with Recyclebank back in February 2010, the City is estimated to have increased recycling by 20,000 tons, a reflection of this partnership and the City’s increased efforts to encourage recycling. By 2011, the City had quadrupled its recycling rate to be more than 20 percent.

Through Recyclebank, the City created the Philadelphia Recycling Awards program, which incentivizes residential recycling by offering exclusive discounts and deals with more than 4,000 local and national businesses and brands. After registering for free online, residents receive a bar code sticker to place on their recycling bin to be scanned by the trucks that pick up their recyclables. Points are then awarded to an online account based on the amount your community has recycled and can be redeemed for any number of discounts and deals.

To learn more about the Philadelphia Recycling Awards Program and how to join, visit

ALEX JACOBS is the Grid intern for spring 2013. He is a junior history major at Haverford College.