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Pennsylvania recovers over $2 million through recycling

Pennsylvania’s general services secretary Sheri Phillips said that more than $2 million was recovered through the Commonwealth’s recycling program in 2011-2012 – a 9 percent increase from the previous annual time period.

“The saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,’ truly applies in the case of the Commonwealth’s recycling program,” Phillips said. “In this case we are turning our trash into treasure – to the tune of $2 million.”

The Commonwealth recycling program has been in effect since 1989 through Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, and was enhanced by Management Directive 202.55 Recycling, Waste Reduction and Procurement of Environmentally Preferable Products.

Administered by the Department of General Services, the program requires the central and satellite offices of all Commonwealth agencies to have a separation and collection program for recyclable materials produced as a result of agency operations, including: office paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic and glass.

Commonwealth agencies are encouraged to incorporate into their recycling programs efforts to recycle, reuse or refurbish pallets and to collect toner cartridges for remanufacturing. Agencies should also include programs to recycle, as appropriate, batteries, scrap metal, tires, waste oil, fluorescent lamps and ballasts.

“This program ensures that we exceed requirements for environmental responsibility while at the same time, reduce our amount of waste and recoup some of the costs spent on materials we can no longer use,” Phillips said.

Recovered funds are used to offset the cost of the recycling program and the purchase of new materials to replace those being recycled.

“In addition to the traditionally recycled items, we’re ahead of the curve in the implementation of an e-waste recycling program, which has already recovered more than $30,000 from more than 300,000 lbs. of material recycled this year,” Phillips said.

Secretary Phillips noted that new rules for recycling electronic devices under the Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act will take effect for consumers and businesses on January 24, 2013.

Under the act, consumers cannot dispose of certain devices, such as computers, laptops, monitors and televisions, with their trash. This means that trash haulers will no longer be able to take these devices unless the municipality has a collection or drop-off program that ultimately sends the devices to an electronics recycler.