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Erie County Recycling Program

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Welcome to the September eNewsletter: Stay up-to-date with the latest news and recycling events from the Erie County Recycling Program.

In this Issue Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs – CFLs or Curly-Q Bulbs Will your TV be any good after February 17, 2009? Free Drop-off Recycling Program Single Stream Recycling – What Is It? New Recycling Data Program Recycling By the Numbers

Facts and Figures Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs – CFLs or Curly-Q Bulbs If every American home replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and would save more than $600 million in annual energy costs. This would be the equivalent of preventing greenhouse gas emissions from more than 800,000 cars. An energy star qualified CFL bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer. Each CFL bulb could save you up to $50 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb. Bulbs are available in different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture. For more information on CFL bulbs, visit and look for lighting on the side menu. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. Mercury currently is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. When the bulb burns out, seal the unbroken bulb in two plastic bags and check for businesses or local government programs that accept the CFLs for recycling. As these CFL bulbs become more popular, more recycling options will become available. CFL Recycling Options Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, launched a national in-store CFL bulb recycling program at all 1,973 Home Depot locations. This free service is the first such offering made so widely available by a retailer in the United States and offers customers additional options for making environmentally conscious decisions from purchase to disposal. At each Home Depot store, customers can simply bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulbs and give them to the store associate behind the returns desk. The bulbs will then be managed responsibly by an environmental management company who will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance. Erie County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events Both CFL and 4 to 8 ft. straight bulbs are accepted at all events. The next scheduled HHW event is as follows: When: September 20, 2008 Where: North East Township Building


Erie County Recycling Program 10300 W. Main Road North East, PA To Register: Call 1-866-815-0016

Will your TV be any good after February 17, 2009? The current plan of the Federal Communications Commission is to require TV broadcasters to abandon traditional analog broadcasts in favor of digital signals beginning February 17, 2009. This means that if you get your local TV signals over the air (through rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna), you will need a converter box to keep using your old TV set. This change should only affect antenna users. The current debate among recyclers is that the change to a digital signal could produce overwhelming numbers of TVs to recycle. According to the 2000 Census, there are 114,322 households in Erie County. So, even if only 25% of the households replace one TV, we would have 28,580 TVs available for recycling in Erie County alone. To put that in perspective, we have collected about 760 TVs at 14 separate collection events since 2006. To plan for this potential flood of TVs, the Erie County Recycling Program is working with ECS&R (an area electronics recycler) to get ready for the resulting quantity of TVs that could be obsolete when broadcasters are required to change to digital signals. If approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, a new permanent drop-off site will start accepting televisions as well as other electronics beginning in January 2009. More information is available at

Free Drop-off Recycling Program The Erie County Recycling Program has established 4 locations for residents to drop off their recyclables for free. The Recycling Depots are open 24/7 and accept the following items: Commingled Containers, consisting of glass containers, aluminum containers, tin and bi-metal containers, and plastic bottles, jugs and jars primarily consisting of HDPE and PET containers, but generally including all plastic containers labeled #1 - #7, as well as the bags in which the containers are collected. Commingled Fibers, consisting of corrugated cardboard, newsprint including all types of inserts delivered in subscription and promotional newspapers and similar periodicals, magazines, and junk mail. The Depots are located at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – Albion; Washington Township – Edinboro; Waterford Quality Market Store – Waterford; ElginBeaverdam Fire Department – Elgin.

Single Stream Recycling – What Is It? Unlike traditional multi-stream recycling, single-stream recycling allows customers to commingle recyclable paper and mixed containers in one bin for collection. The convenience of single-stream recycling greatly increases participation and household recovery (usually measured in pounds per household), resulting in the recovery of up to 30 percent more recyclable materials. Single-stream also allows for efficient fleet utilization and route optimization by cutting down on specialized recycling collection vehicles and allowing greater material compaction. Over time, this reduces the energy required during the collection of the material through greater payloads and a "one route, one truck" collection methodology. The commingled material is now sorted using optical and mechanical sorting equipment to separate and process recyclable paper, glass, plastics, metals and electronics. At present, Waste Management is the only waste hauler offering single-stream recycling to its customers in the county. Once collected


Erie County Recycling Program from the curb, recyclables are bulked into tractor trailers and transported to WM Recycle America facility south of Cleveland, OH.

New Recycling Data Program The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is implementing a new computerized program for the collection and input of recycling data by County Coordinators starting with the 2009 reporting year. All County Coordinators will receive training on the new software this October, and will be required to submit reports to PADEP using only this program beginning in 2009. This change will have some effect on how municipal recycling officials report recycling data to Erie County compared to reporting in previous years. The most significant change is, all reporting will finally be in electronic format — no more paper forms to fill in and mail or fax! More information will be available on this development after October’s training class.

Recycling By the Numbers Click here to download a data summary of recycling statistics for 2007 in PDF format. This information was distributed at the 2008 Recycling Summit, held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on June 5, 2008, and is now posted in electronic format for your convenience.

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©2008 Erie County Recycling Program. All Rights Reserved.


E-News: Erie County Recycling  

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