HERMITAGE – It’s been a few years since VHS tapes were considered the state of the art in home entertainment, but lots of people still have the recordings lying around their houses. 

In the Shenango Valley, though, there are more than 200 fewer pounds of VHS tapes after an e-waste collection program sponsored by the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling and Solid Waste department this week at the Hermitage Municipal Building.

The session was the second in what will be a monthly event to help people dispose of odd types of items such as VHS tapes, compact disks, shoes and fluorescent lights. The recycling collections, which are free, will be held on a rotating basis in Lawrence and Mercer counties.

Jerry Zona, director of the Mercer-Lawrence County Recycling and Solid Waste Department, said he saw a need for collections to keep electronic media, fluorescent lights – including CFL household lighting – and cell phones out of landfills.

“We’re trying to make this more accessible to people,” he said. “We talked about how to get more people involved.”

All collections are held on the second Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On April 9, the department will hold a collection in the New Wilmington Borough Building, 134 High St. The collection returns to Mercer County May 14 at the Penn State Extension office, 463 Perry Highway, north of Mercer.

The program began in February at the recycling and solid waste offices in New Castle.

Future e-recycling collections are scheduled in Lawrence County on June 11 at Wampum Borough Building on Main Street in Wampum and Aug. 13 in the Slippery Rock Township Municipal Building, on Route 422 east of New Castle.

The department is still seeking locations for the Mercer County collections on July 9, Sept. 10, and Nov. 12, and the Lawrence County collections on Oct. 8 and Dec. 10. Zona said the department is looking to hold a collection in Mercer County’s northern tier, perhaps near Greenville or Hempfield Township.

People brought in about 150 pounds of VHS tapes for the February collection, Zona said. That means, in two months, 400 pounds of tapes of ‘80s and ‘90s films have been kept out of landfills so far.

Zona said the department sends tapes, CDs and other electronic media storage items to a recycler that employs special-needs workers who break electronic media – which it calls technotrash – into its component parts, including screws, plastic and recording tape, then recycles all of it.

The program, he said, will allow the recycling department to provide the tech recycling service in a more widespread manner.

“We’re excited about this,” Zona said. “We’re able to bring it to more people this way.”

Follow Eric Poole on Facebook and Twitter @HeraldEricPoole. Email him at epoole@sharonherald.com