Computer and Electronics Recycling

Consumers are required to keep covered devices, such as computers, laptops, monitors, and televisions, out of the trash, as required by The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act enacted in 2010.  It is important to recycle computers and electronics because they contain materials that can become hazardous if not properly handled. Many of the materials used in electronics are valuable when recycled for use in new electronics.

If the electronics you want to discard are relatively new and in good condition, consider donating them for refurbishing. Visit www.electronicstakeback.com for more information from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition about the importance of recycling electronics.  Refer to the Montgomery County website for a list of hazardous waste and electronic waste collection sites and other County related recycling news.

Recycling Electronic Devices

Because of Pennsylvania’s electronics recycling law, trash and recycle haulers will no longer pick up televisions, computers, and other electronic devices from curbs for disposal in the waste stream.  Electronic devices include televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, CPU’s, printers, scanners, keyboards, mouse devices, speakers, cables and battery backups.

The law also requires manufacturers of devices to provide for the collection, transportation and recycling of these devices by establishing one-day events, permanent collection programs or mail-in programs.  Some manufacturers offer take-back and recycling programs to allow consumers to return their products safely.  Under The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, manufacturers of covered electronic devices must establish, conduct, and manage a plan to collect, transport, and recycle a quantity of covered electronic devices equal to the manufacturer’s market share.  Manufacturers must annually register with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and provide for the free collection and recycling of covered devices to Pennsylvania consumers.

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture.   Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

Items Eligible to be Collected Under this Program

A covered electronic computer device is a computer (desktop, laptop), computer monitor, and computer peripheral (printer, keyboard, mouse, or any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer that provides input or output into or from a computer).  A covered television is a television with screen size greater than 4 inches measured diagonally.

Cell phones are not part of The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, but it is still important to recycle Cell phones, and it’s easy to recycle them. Click on reusing or recycling cell phones for more information.

Before donating or recycling a computer, it is important to remove all personal information.  Visit Ten Tips for Donating a Computer for a list of disk-cleaning software, as well as other suggestions for donating your computer.  If you plan to recycle your computer, you should still clear your personal information first.

Where to Recycle Your Electronics

FREE Electronics Dropoff Recycling for PA and NJ residents is being offered in 2020 by Kuusakoski Recycling. Devices can be dropped of Monday-Friday 7am-2:30pm at Vintage Tech Electronic Recyclers, 900 Wheeler Way, Suite B, Langhorne, PA 19047.  Details about what is being accepted can be found here. Currently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, this site is a self-service drop-off location. Drop-off boxes are located behind the building, to the left of a green trash compactor.

Montgomery County has also partnered with the recycling service Retrievr to offer curbside pickup of clothing and old electronic equipment. The process is as easy as texting ‘PICKUP’ to 757-70-FETCH (757-703-3824) and scheduling a curbside pickup. There is a curbside convenience fee of $10 per pickup, and select electronics may be subject to a fee. More details can be found at Retrievr’s website.

Unfortunately, Montgomery County was not able to hold many electronics collection events in 2020, as manufacturers are no longer sponsoring county recycling collections in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, though state law requires electronics manufacturers to offer recycling opportunities for TVs and computers. An amendment to the Covered Device Recycling Act is needed to ensure the availability of recycling outlets.  Some municipalities hold electronics collections for their residents.  Check with your municipality.  You may be able to recycle your covered electronic devices at special recycling events held by schools or some non-profit institutions.  Refer to the Montgomery County website for a list of hazardous waste and electronic waste collection sites and other County related recycling news.