By Taylor Styer
Old Gen to New Gen
Electronics are near and dear to many users’ hearts. However, what happens to your last gen products when consumers upgrade?
Recycling products ranges from county to county, but Lancaster County has some guidelines for what is accepted. More specifically, guidelines for electronics or E-waste. Lancaster waste management authority is responsible for recycling for Lancaster as a whole. The local facilities are located on Harrisburg pike and serves as the main hub for all waste and recycling for the county’s residents. The authority emphasizes the disposal of E-waste properly as it is the fastest growing source of waste globally
The authority lists clearly what is accepted as follows: desktop computers, laptops, monitors, tv’s, cameras, cell phones, DVD & VCR players, IPOD’s, MP3’s, gaming consoles, stereos, and more. It is also important to note that only 10 items per day are accepted. They also will not accept any electronics from businesses. The authority also suggests that customers destroy all data stored on devices prior to drop off. The authority uses a third party vendor and is not responsible for data removal.
Lancaster Waste Management Authority will not accept any dismantled computers or TV’s for hazardous reasons. They also will not accept large quantities of any electronics. The hours available for customers to drop off their waste are 6AM-4PM Monday through Saturday.
Many consumers of media and electronics often just toss their old gen tech away. However, there are some ugly consequences for doing so. The most prevalent reason is that most tech contains large amounts of harmful materials such as: lead, mercury, arsenic and more. These materials are very pollutive to the air, water, and land. If electronic products end up in landfills the chemicals and materials can leak into the earth causing more issues. Furthermore, if the trash is burned those toxic chemicals are then released into the atmosphere. By recycling the old tech, precious virgin materials are saved and reused for another piece of tech to be manufactured. As well as help preserve and maintain the earth.
The process of recycling electronics is also very simple and does not differ largely from the normal process. There are 5 key steps to recycling E-waste. All 5 steps build on one another so it is important to follow the steps in order and accurately! This will ensure the most reusable material is salvaged and converted into new tech. (insert interview that i made)
- recycling of e-waste is to manually sort and separate the items. This is very important as the sheer volume of electronics Lancaster county recycles is astounding. This will guarantee that the correct items are being processed and the others are recycled in a different process. Many of the items separated are the banned or not accepted items as mentioned before.
- begin shredding the items. Just like this step sounds like, the e-waste is then shredded into 100 mm or even smaller pieces to secure an easier separation process.
- magnets are removed from the shredded e-waste. This is an unnecessary component of the item and is better discarded than reused. Thus making the final separation easier.
- separation process focused on metallic and nonmetallic materials. Once again, this component is not needed to reproduce another piece of tech so it is discarded.
- Final separation process through water. The water cycles out plastics and glass that’s not necessary for E-waste to be repurposed.
E-waste is no joke and needs to be handled properly so that consumers can continue to enjoy new tech and gadgets! Be sure to locate your local recycling center and ensure the facility follows the proper protocols.
Recycling on Campuses and Other Businesses
Recycling and trash in Lancaster county is an issue as a whole. The problem lies within businesses’ and organization’s recycling habits. Many businesses in Lancaster County do not recycle and the same can be said for Universities/organizations. For example, Millersville University does not recycle items on campus. However, there are recycling bins and dumpsters on campus but many of them are just for display. In fact, the majority of the recycling bins provided by the dorms are sealed shut. This seems to be the trend for many Pennsylvania universities, as many other state schools also have a recycling issue.
Tech Growth Raising Concerns
The tech industry is always growing and constantly producing new products. That sounds great, until consumers realize that they have to discard their last gen products. The technology industry is predicted to grow up to 50% within the coming years. This increase in new technology will cause a large amount of e-waste. It is not the producers fault for advancing the products so fast, however, the E-waste will pile up. Many of the new tech being produced is products such as: VR, AR, AI, and more. The problem begins with unrealistic production demands from companies which in turn produces lots of E-waste.
Meet Jim Warner
Jim Warner is the heart and soul of Lancaster Waste Management authority, founding the company in 1954. Jim has been serving as chief executive officer for more than 60 years until he stepped down, leaving a competent person as his successor. Jim’s legacy revolved around him expanding the authority into a national model and increasing their renewable energy footprint. Jim is praised for his sustainable practices and involvement in the Lancaster community. Before stepping down as chief executive officer for the authority, Jim stated that he’ll ensure his hard work wont be for nothing and his empire will carry on.
Meet Karen Weibel
Karen Weibel joined the board of directors in 2009 and fulfilled many positions of leadership. Before obtaining her position on the board, Karen served as the Lancaster Waste Management authority’s citizen advisory committee. Karen has a long history of serving the community, she’s fulfilled duties in both appointed and elected positions for Lititz borough. She’s also expanded her outreach to Lancaster county by being an advocate for adult literacy and serving on many planning committees. With all her experience in serving the community, Karen will ensure that Jim’s legacy is handled properly. Karen has no plans on leaving her position.
27, R.C.|A. et al. (2020) What can we do about the growing e-waste problem?, State of the Planet. Available at: https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2018/08/27/growing-e-waste-problem (Accessed: December 6, 2022).
Michael, A.P. (2022) Technology statistics: How fast is tech advancing? [growth charts] 2022, MediaPeanut. Available at: https://mediapeanut.com/how-fast-is-technology-growing-statistics-facts/ (Accessed: December 6, 2022).
Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (no date) LCSWMA. Available at: https://www.lcswma.org/ (Accessed: December 6, 2022).