The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 22, 2014

Many items can’t be thrown away

Electronics full of toxic materials

- — The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

It’s been more than a year since Act 101 changed laws regarding the disposal of electronic equipment, batteries and fluorescent lights, and people have embraced the change, Zona said, noting that today’s Earth Day collection of electronics is already booked solid from people who pre-registered.

“It’s illegal now to dump televisions, computers and peripheral equipment into the trash because all of those devices, basically anything with a circuit board, is toxic,” Zona said, “so several times a year we host a collection effort.”

Many of those items that were scrapped a year ago are now leaking toxic chemicals into the water supply, where most of it is filtered out though treatment plants.

Some of those chemicals include rare earth elements such as hafnium and arsenic, he said. “It’s basically the old-style monitors, the CRTs that have between four and eight pounds of lead in them, so says the EPA,” Zona said.

Landfills that accept electronics can be fined, as can haulers who take the equipment there instead of to an acceptable drop-off site, he said, and as fines are given out, Zona said, awareness is increasing.

“The good news is that these products are easy to recycle. And people really seem to be getting on board with it. We’re filling up spots for June for our electronics recycling program, even with the fees we’ve had to charge,” he said.

At one time, Zona said, they charged per item. Now, $20 allows residents to drop off a carload of items such as computers, old phones, anything with a plug, he added.

He said he believes people are becoming much more aware of the environment and their impact on it.

Recycling isn’t mandated in communities with fewer than 5,000 residents, but Zona said he’d like to see that expand, especially since “single-stream” recycling makes it almost effortless. With that type of recycling, there is no need to separate cans, bottles and plastics. “It’s all mixed together from the resident’s end,” he said.

“Recycling can be challenging, particularly in rural areas where it’s sometimes a mile or two between houses,” he said.

And while the effort is made to protect the environment, Zona said, there is a cost-savings consumers see as well.

“You don’t necessarily see it up front like you once did, like when churches or Boy Scouts or some other group raised money by collecting bottles and cans and newspapers, but now when you have a new product made from an old product, the savings show up there,” Zona said.

As an example, Zona said a used aluminum can be made into a new can in less than two weeks, requiring “90 percent less energy than the original can.”

“That energy savings is evident by the purchase price. It might not be tangible in the sense that you take that money and put it in your pocket, but you’re likely saving thousands over the course of your lifetime,” Zona said.

 

Details about local electronics recycling and other programs are available at co.lawrence.pa.us. or by calling 724-658-6925.

Text Only
Local News
  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo