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From the Desk of County Commissioner
Marty Qually

(8/2017) The Adams County Council of Governments along with the Adams County Office of Planning is offering a one day covered device recycling event. On September 9th from 10 till 2 county residents will be able to drop off their covered devices at our 911 center at 230 Greenamyer Lane, Gettysburg. The first step that a resident should take is to register with the County Planning office by calling 717-337-9824. They will sign up residents and answer any questions. The only cost that residents will need to pay is $25 to drop off a television and $10 to drop off a computer monitor. All other covered devices will be free. All of these funds will be collected by the recycling company, E-end, to offset their cost to recycle the leaded glass in the television and computer screens. This program will be a huge success, so please get registered as soon as you can. We want to serve every resident that we can, but we will only know how many tractor trailers to have on hand, if people pre-register.

In 2016 Pennsylvania saw the unraveling of electronic recycling programs. This was mostly due to a poor market for recycled material and the expense of recycling the leaded glass in televisions and computer monitors. In my years as a Commissioner, this issue has garnered the most response to date. It has been great hearing from people of all walks of like that they were concerned about the loss of electronic recycling in Adams County.

My dad told me a story about when he was a child and they recycled the foil from gum wrappers. At first it sounded like one of those "we walked in snowstorms to the bus stop, uphill both ways" stories, then my mother and mother-in-law shared the same gum wrapper story. This duty to frugality really comes into focus the more I learn from older residents about how many televisions they have stored in their basement waiting to be recycled. On the other end of the spectrum, I hear from younger residents, whose concern is more environmental. The fisherman tired of fishing broken televisions out of the stream or the farmer picking them up along the road. All of these people share one thing in common, as responsible Americans we want to do what is right for our community and our environment.

With such an array of residents expressing concerns to local, county, and state officials, it became clear that something had to be done. At each level of government actions are being taken to address this concern. While the COG and the County have stepped up to address the immediate concern, we know this is not sustainable forever. As TVs and computers become outdated or break down, there needs to be legislation to deal with their safe disposal. Senator Rich Alloway, who has met extensively with municipal and county officials, has already introduced legislation (Senate Bill 800) to help solve the problem. While I will oversimplify, what is a complex piece of legislation, it is basically two fold. First, the legislation allows for leaded glass to be segregated and dealt with separately from the electronic components of TVs or computer monitor. This is significant! Lead is a very dangerous element that must be kept out of our water supply through safe disposal processes, but at the same time lead is very heavy. This weight is what caused prior state programs to fail. The funding for electronic recycling programs was based upon a formula where in each pound of new electronics produced funded a pound of old electronics to be recycled. Have you ever lifted an old television? They can easily weight 10 times more than a modern one. This meant that the recycling fund couldnít keep up with the amount and weight of old televisions being recycled.

The second part of the approach is for electronics manufacturers to pay their fair share to fund the electronic recycling programs. While we all know that they will pass on their costs to the consumers, we will still be a part of the solution. This is no different than paying for the trash we generate or the fees to change your oil. From what I can tell this bill goes a long way to solving the long term challenges of recycling electronics.

As we wait for new proposed legislation to reinstitute effective electronic recycling programs, our local Council of Governments (COG) and the County Planning office are stepping up to help on September 9th. Many readers may not be familiar with the COG. The COG is made up of representatives of municipalities, county government, and school districts. Our goal is to find solutions to shared problems. This ranges from combining our voices on state and federal legislative issues to working with other elected officials to cooperative purchasing to reduce costs to tax payers. In the case of spearheading the electronic recycling project on September 9th I would like to give special thanks to Colleen Reamer and Bob Gordon (Hamiltonban Township), Mayor Ron Harris (Carroll Valley), Gus Fridenvalds (Huntington Township), and Carroll Smith (Fairfield Borough). These local officials saw the need, listened to their residents, and pushed for this event to occur. Along with the county planning office they are the boots on the ground serving our local residents.

So donít forget to pre-register with the Adams County Planning office at 717-337-9824. On September 9th from 10 till 2 county residents will be able to drop off their covered devices at our 911 center at 230 Greenamyer Lane. The Planning office will sign up residents and answer any questions. The only cost that residents will need to pay is $25 to drop off a television and $10 to drop off a computer monitor. All other covered devices will be free. This program will be a huge success, so please get registered as soon as you can. And if you have any questions about municipal or county government, feel free to give me a call at 717-339-6514.

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