New electronics ban in effect, causing some local confusion
Local trash haulers and customers are wondering what they’re supposed to do with their old electronics, in the wake of a new January 1 ban on those items in state landfills. Because electronic devices contain hazardous materials like lead and cadmium, state lawmakers decided to keep them out of commercial dumps.
But the supply of electronics certainly hasn’t ebbed, leaving consumers and trash haulers wondering what they’re supposed to do with old or broken
Trash hauler Morgan Sanitation has turned away a number of customers asking for a “bulk goods” pickup of televisions or computer monitors just in the last two weeks. His company serves 4,000 customers in Morgan County.
Owner J.C. Fischer said his company simply can’t pick up items that they can’t dispose of. LCS Landfill in Hedgesville won’t take the electronics, and a similar ban went into effect in Maryland and Pennsylvania landfills at the same time, he said.
“There’s a lot of confusion and it’s difficult to get an answer from anyone,” Fischer said.
The Town of Bath’s trash service is running into the same question – how can they pick up items from their customers if they don’t have anywhere to get rid of them?
Morgan County’s Solid Waste Authority (SWA) supports the idea that consumers should recycle the items, but said they will only be able to hold one e-recycling event this year.
In previous years, the state gave them grants to hold as many as three such events. With the advent of the new electronics rules, state funding for electronics recycling events actually went down, said SWA Director Ellen Smith.
This year’s electronics recycling day will be held at the Biggs Recycling Center on Saturday, April 9.
Local thrift shops will still accept working electronics, like computer monitors or televisions. Putting the items into the resale market extends their life, and keeps usable items out of the trash stream. Often, consumers get rid of electronics that still work, just because they got something newer. The Goodwill, Rescue Squad Auxiliary Thrift Shop and The RAG Shop all take these items if they work and are in saleable condition.
Meanwhile, it seems that broken electronics will need to sit in the garage or spare room until the April recycling event.
The state has an “E-Waste” website that can direct residents to collection and recycling events, recycling facilities organizations that accept donated items and companies that have take back programs – where some electronics manufacturers recycle their own products at no cost to consumers. Information about West Virginia’s e-recycling efforts and resources is available by calling 304-926-0448.