June 13, 2015

Tossin’ and turnin’ electronics into new uses at recycling collection

HANOVER TWP. — A TV here and an old computer there and pretty soon there’s truckload of them.

That’s why Beth DeNardi had 20 tractor trailers on hand Saturday for the 14th Luzerne County Electronics Recycling Collection at the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School parking lot.

It started at 9 a.m. and 45 minutes into the event, DeNardi marveled at the demand to supply the county with radios, printers, telephones, speakers, peripherals and so many other gadgets that make life easier but don’t last forever.

At last week’s drop off in Butler Township they counted 1,400 vehicles and filled up 12 tractor trailers, she said.

“This one we have a lot more space to work with,” DeNardi said of the parking lot behind the school.

Lines of cars and pickup trucks pulling trailers stretched in both directions, north and south on the Sans Souci Parkway and east and west on Ashley Street to enter the lot.

Constables directed the vehicles into the six lanes for drop offs. Drivers popped their hoods, opened their hatches or lowered their tailgates. Workers for Illinois-based Vintage TechRecyclers unloaded the items and tossed the smaller ones into huge cardboard boxes. They stacked big screen TVs and larger pieces onto pallets and cocooned them in plastic wrap, making it easy for forklift operators to pick and tote to awaiting trailers.

Municipal dump trucks pulled into a separate area for their scheduled deliveries. Nardi kept track of them, saying there were “six every half hour on the hour” throughout the day.

Jenkins Township sent three trucks including one pulling a trailer. “The one had about 78 TVs on it,” said Joe Lewis, township road foreman. Residents brought their electronics to the township garage and workers loaded them onto the trucks.

Agnes Glodek of the Breslau section of Hanover Township crept toward the controlled chaos after waiting in line about 30 minutes to get rid of TVs and a computer. She can’t dispose of them curbside with household trash and made the trip to get rid of them in an environmentally safe manner.

“Hey and it’s free,” Glodek said.

That’s right, there’s no charge.

“We’re one of the few counties that can offer that service,” DeNardi said. “We do it through grants with the state.”

The county’s Solid Waste Management Department receives funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. From 2003 through 2014, the county has recycled more than 5.3 million pounds of electronics, DeNardi said

The collections help prevent illegal dumping of the electronics and in turn limit the possibility of cadmium, lead, mercury and other harmful substances from leaching into water supplies. Approximately 95 percent of the plastic, glass, metal and other material is recycled. What can’t be reused is disposed in a state approved landfill, DeNardi said.

“It’s the right way to get rid of it,” said Brian Donovan of Shavertown, Kingston Township.

He carted an old TV and a couple of computers to the collection site and freed up the space they occupied in his garage.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570 991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott