Southwestern Pa. Goodwill branch puts donations of televisions on hiatus
Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania is pulling the plug on donations of televisions to its outlet stores.
“We no longer can recycle (them) at no cost to Goodwill,” said Michael J. Smith, president and CEO of the Goodwill chapter. “Now, we're in a dilemma. If people bring televisions to us, we have to pay to recycle them, which impacts our ability to provide programs and services.”
Goodwill, based in Lawrenceville, is a human services agency with a chain of 30 retail stores that provides job training and other services to people with disabilities.
Beginning Sunday, it will stop accepting TVs.
Among the reasons, officials cited the state Covered Device Recycling Act that banned TVs and other electronic devices from landfills as of January. It also prohibits municipal curbside pickup of televisions, computers, printers and monitors, except for collection programs specifically for electronic materials.
The state Department of Environmental Protection determines how many pounds of electronic equipment groups can pick up without incurring a fee and surcharge for collecting and recycling the extra amount.
Goodwill accepted 750,000 pounds of televisions last year. It requested authorization to collect 1.5 million pounds this year but hit that ceiling in six months.
Smith said it would cost about $125,000 to send its backlog of televisions to the recycling company, so it decided on the ban until it gets a new allocation from the state next year. He estimates Goodwill amassed tens of thousands of televisions when it announced last year that it was accepting them.
Recycling experts said Goodwill's situation and the flood of TV sets here are part of a nationwide phenomenon.
David Mazza, regional director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, said at least 20 states have similar laws banning televisions in landfills.
“Most of my competitors in Eastern Pennsylvania stopped taking televisions six weeks ago,” said Ned Eldridge, president and CEO of E-Loop, an electronic waste recycler in Murrysville. He said many recyclers have hit state limits that he considers too low.
He expects to be able to collect TVs for recycling until October.
Part of the problem, experts say, is the increasing popularity and declining prices of flat-screen plasma and LED televisions that offer sharper pictures. That encourages consumers to junk bulky, cathode ray tube dinosaurs, which are no longer used to make new TVs.
Other electronics, such as computers, can be recycled and made into new computers. Goodwill will continue a program to recycle donated computers.
Smith worries that some owners of old TVs might be tempted to dump them illegally.
“The key here is people should not panic,” Mazza said. “This is a temporary situation. At some point, (Goodwill) will be able to take TVs again. The TVs sitting down in the basement, just let them sit there.”
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Newsmaker: Thomas B. Hassett
- McCandless residents voice opposition to Wal-Mart plan
- Castle Shannon mayor honored by statewide association
- TSA fee increase this week arrives with load of complaints
- Pittsburgh Cultural Trust leads applicants seeking increase in RAD money
- Shenango asks judge to dismiss suit by environmental group
- Newsmaker: Mary Jo Slater
- Ukrainian festival will go on in McKees Rocks despite crisis in homeland
- Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
- Moon Area board reconfigures elementary buildings, votes again to close school and explore merging with Cornell
- 1 intruder killed, another injured in Carrick home invasion