Pennsylvania residents surveyed on their ability, willingness to recycle
Over the last 5 months the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC) in partnership with the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg completed a state-wide survey of Pennsylvanians to understand how much e-waste is likely destined for Pennsylvania recycling programs.
The survey was part of the Spring 2016 Penn State Poll. Results are summarized as follows:
• Less than half (44.4 per cent) of Pennsylvanians know where to recycle electronics.
• 65 per cent of Pennsylvanians are willing to travel 10 miles or less to recycle electronics.
• 50 per cent of Pennsylvanians reported they do not want to pay anything to recycle their electronics.
With few “no charge” collection sites across the state that accept all electronics specified in Pennsylvania’s recycling law; a local distance a recycler is willing to travel, and half of Pennsylvanians not willing to accept an electronics recycling charge, electronics recycling is challenging at best.
Using the state-wide survey data, the RMC estimates and summarizes as follows:
• Residentially, there are approximately 6.8 million tube televisions and tube computer monitors (CRTs) combined remaining in Pennsylvania, with an average weight of 58 pounds, down from an estimated 8.2 million units in 2015.
• Residentially, the combined, estimated weight of tube televisions and CRT tube computer monitors in Pennsylvania is 396 million pounds.
• The total Pennsylvania residential count of in use and out of use electronics equipment, including tube TVs, tube and flat computer monitors, flat screen TVs, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, pads, e-readers, printers, keyboards, mice/trackpads, and wireless routers is approximately 694 million Pennsylvania electronic devices.
• The total Pennsylvania residential weight of in use and out of use electronics equipment, including tube TVs, tube and flat computer monitors, flat screen TVs, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, pads, e-readers, printers, keyboards, mice/trackpads, and wireless routers is approximately 1 billion pounds of Pennsylvania electronic devices. The equivalent weight of approximately 3,473 Statue of Liberty monuments.
It is important to know this survey does not define consumer intent – this does not account for when a Pennsylvanian may choose to recycle their electronic device, it may be this year or any other time in the future.
With limited locations that are reasonably accessible for recovery of lead-glass computer monitors and tube TVs and with significant amounts of these and newer electronics in our recycling, it is easily demonstrated why Pennsylvania needs a consolidated electronics recycling law.
Unfortunately, under Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Recycling Act, Act 108 of 2010, consumer outlets for recycling of waste electronics continues to decline. According to Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center 2016 findings, only 32 collection sites state-wide accept all covered electronic devices at no charge to the consumer as specified in the Act.