York County to relaunch e-cycling program, but will it last?

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MANCHESTER TWP., Pa. -- York County is relaunching its electronics recycling program in April.

This comes after a four-month suspension of the program. The Covered Device Recycling Act bans both the disposal and collection of certain electronic devices. This created a major influx of electronics in the recycling market, making it too expensive for recycling vendors.

Residents will be able to drop off their old electronics at the York County Solid Waste Authority's yard waste site. The program is free and will be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every week. The site is located off of Flour Mill Road in Manchester Township.

Penn and Fairview Townships will also conduct collection programs during the week. For times and locations, go to www.penntwp.com and www.twp.fairview.pa.us.

The problem for the county occurred back in December after their e-cycling vendor backed out.

Ellen O'Connor, spokesperson for YCSWA, said, "At the very last minute the Original Equipment Manufacturer said, 'Oops, sorry. I don't have any more capacity.' So that left the electronics recycling vendor kind of in the lurch, and they had to pull out."

One of the problems is e-cycling has a weight-based requirement. Materials are getting lighter, so when people throw away their old clunky televisions, it takes up a lot of volume for vendors.

There is a major change with this program compared to previous ones: the program is only open to York County residents, not businesses and organizations.

If you are a business, organization or school that wishes to recycle electronic devices may contact electronics recycling vendors directly. A list of recycling vendors is available at www.ycswa.com.

Recycling Manager Justin Miller said the situation is different for places like Cumberland County.

"Recyclers want to work with places that have permanent drop-off sites which you probably saw in York County, so we're at a disadvantage there as well," Miller said.

The county was able to find a vendor and did a drop-off event last fall, but the vendor backed out of events scheduled for this year.

Cumberland County is getting the backlash.

Miller said, "One is angry, frustrated residents. I don't blame them. It's hard to explain to them what's going on. But I think that anger in some cases is leading to illegal dumping."

Lawmakers said they understand this is a problem, but do not have any solutions. And York county may run into this problem again in the near future. They have to negotiate another contract with a vendor for next year.

"And that leaves community programs up in the air because if we can't secure a contract then we can't secure a program," Miller said.