PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Right there in the garage, gathering cobwebs and dust, sits the old 26-inch console tube TV that was state of the art in the days of “Dallas,” “Dukes of Hazard,” “The Jeffersons” and “M*A*S*H.”

Today, it’s nothing more than a flat spot to collect junk. So is its 32-inch replacement nearby buried under an old rocking chair and worn out clothes.

That could be the description of many garages or basements, toss in that old computer tower that was great on MySpace and you’ve got the making for an electronic disposal nightmare.

You can try to put them on the curb on garbage day.

“The trash collectors won’t accept it,” John Poister of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said.

The reason is simple. Those old electronics contain hazardous compounds like cadmium, mercury and lead and cannot be dumped in a landfill.

On Jan. 24, 2013, a new Pennsylvania law will require those old electronics to be recycled.

“The manufacturer is now going to be responsible for the recycling of these devices,” Poister said.

Retail stores like HHGregg, Staples and Best Buy are already offering recycle programs at no charge.

“There is a three items per household per day limit on things that you can recycle. The only thing that we ask is that the hard drive be taken out of computers before you bring them in,” Alisha Rector from Best Buy said.

The folks at Goodwill would also be more than happy to take your electronics off your hands. Goodwill refurbishes items that can be resold and recycles the rest for the money recyclers are willing to pay.

David Tobiczyk said the recycling has become an important part of Goodwill’s fundraising.

“It helps generate dollars for Goodwill to help people get jobs,” Tobiczyk said.

Officially, the state law is called the Covered Device Recycling Act or CDRA Act 108 and the items it requires recycling for are: desktop and notebook computers, computer monitors, computer peripherals, and televisions marketed and intended for use by consumers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The act also says: The CDRA prohibits manufacturers and retailers from charging consumers a fee for the collection, transportation, or recycling of a covered device unless a financial incentive, such as a coupon or rebate, of equal or greater value is provided.

Again, most of the big box retail stores that sell the electronics are offering the recycling free, so you might want to call ahead, shop around, or take advantage of Goodwill where there is no charge.

Links to local recyclers and events:

Pennsylvania Resources Council
Permanent Collection Programs
Computer and Electronics Recyclers in Pennsylvania

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