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Recycling centers in W.Va. and Pa. welcome electronic items

December 25, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

LEETOWN, W.Va. — Recycling centers in Jefferson and Berkeley counties have already geared up for the state’s new recycling law that bans televisions and computer monitors from being dumped in landfills.

The new regulations take effect Jan. 1. Both centers are already accepting the items.

Other electronic devices — cellphones, telephones, answering machines, camcorders, compact disc players, fax machines, laptops, pagers, keyboards, VCRs, printers, printed circuit boards, tape players stereos, digital cameras and the like are not affected by the new law, although recycling centers in both counties accept them at no cost.

The Jefferson County Recycling Center on Jefferson Orchard Road in Leetown charges $10 for every computer monitor and $5 for each television it takes in, said Roger Gambill, the center’s manager.

The Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority charges a flat $5 fee for televisions and computer monitors at its South Berkeley Recycling Center in Inwood, W.Va., said Edgar Mason, the authority’s vice chairman. The authority’s recycling center on Grapevine Road does not yet accept the devices, he said.

No such law banning televisions and computer monitors from landfills exists in Pennsylvania, but the regional recycling center in Washington Township does accept electronic devices of all types, said Township Manager Mike Christopher. They are set aside for pickup by a local company for recycling, he said.

The West Virginia law is designed to reduce illegal open dumping of the devices and cut down on what goes into landfills, officials said.

“States are finding out that electronics are becoming a large part of the waste stream,” said Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority.

Landfill operators say heavy metals found in all electronic devices are showing up in the leachate, or resulting liquid, that comes out of landfills. “Those systems are not designed to handle hazard materials like lead, cadmium and other toxic metals that end up in the water supply,” Hogbin said. “West Virginia is getting progressive in getting them out of the landfills.”

Companies that collect the devices in both county recycling centers must meet mandatory minimum standards to ensure that they are broken down and recycled rather than shipped to China or other countries that dispose of them in landfills, officials said.

In Berkeley County, televisions and monitors are dropped off on pallets, either by individuals or commercial trash collecting firms.

When full, the pallets are shrink-wrapped for pickup by the recycling firms.

They are separated and crated to await pickup in the Jefferson County center.

J.P. Phillips, general manager at Apple Valley Waste headquarters in Kearneysville, said collection schedules will be established for televisions and computer monitors to be picked up. Customers will have to call the company at 304-724-1834 to make arrangements for pickup, he said.

The recycling centers will bill Apple Valley, which operates in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, for the drop-off fee.

“It’s going to be a learning process. It will be subject to change,” Phillips said.

Area resident Roger Williams walked up to the Inwood drop-off center one day last week carrying a printer in his arms. He said he believed the new law was “definitely a good idea. I always drop off my paper here,” he said.

Mason worried that some residents, trying to avoid the fee, will dump their old televisions and computer monitors off the side of the road.

“Hopefully, more people will bring them here,” he said.

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