The sixth-largest city in the US, Philadelphia is home to over 1.5 million people. Every year, the city generates an incredible two million tons of waste. The vast majority of this waste goes straight to landfill or incinerators. However, things in Philadelphia are starting to change. The city recently announced it plans to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and incinerators by an impressive 90%. Philadelphia has also set the ambitious task of achieving zero waste by 2035.
To encourage recycling in the city, Philadelphia has introduced a single-stream system, allowing residents to put all of their mixed recycling (cans, glass, paper, cardboard, and plastic) in one bin. This waste is collected from homes every week along with the trash, making recycling easier than ever for the residents of Philadelphia.
However, one area of recycling that still poses a challenge is e-waste. Electronic products often contain harmful chemicals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium. If these materials end up in landfill, they can do a lot of damage to the local environment. Luckily, Philadelphia is home to a number of e-waste recycling points. Located across the city, they are there to make it as easy as possible for residents of Philadelphia to recycle.
To help individuals and businesses do their part for the environment, and safely dispose of their electronics, we’ve brought together all of the information needed on how to recycle e-waste in Philadelphia.
What types of e-waste can be recycled in Philadelphia?
In 2013, the state of Pennsylvania passed the Covered Device Recycling Act, or CDRA. The act made it illegal to dump your electronics at the curbside. This was done in order to promote e-waste recycling and prevent the dangerous materials contained in many electronics from ending up in landfill.
As a result of the ban on curbside pick-up, residents of Philadelphia are now required to take their old electronics to recycling center drop-off locations in order to safely dispose of them.
Among the devices included in the CDRA act were:
Covered computer devices including:
- Desktop computers
- Notebook computers
- Computer monitors (CRT)
- Other peripheral products marketed and intended for use by a consumer
Peripheral items including:
- Any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer
Covered television devices including:
- Any television with a viewable screen of 4 inches of more
Although the CDRA only covers certain types of electronics, it’s a good idea to recycle all of your e-waste instead of sending it to landfill. If you want to know where to recycle e-waste in Philadelphia and get the latest news on recycling programs and initiatives in the area, take a look at the City of Philadelphia website.
Most types of electronics can be recycled in Philadelphia. Products that can be easily recycled in the city include:
- Cell phones
- Computers/laptop computers
- Digital cameras
- GPS devices
- MP3 players
- PC speakers
- Rechargeable batteries
- UPS (battery back-ups)
Why should I recycle electronics in Philadelphia?
There are many reasons why you should recycle your old electronics. For a start, the CDRA makes it illegal for residents of Philadelphia, and the rest of Pennsylvania, to throw covered electronics in the trash. Both businesses and individuals are now required to responsibly dispose of this potentially hazardous waste. Repeat offenders will face fines and other enforcement actions.
In 2016, the city reaffirmed its commitment to the environment, by setting the ambitious goal of producing zero waste by 2035. Through the SmartCityPHL initiative, the city is looking for innovative technologies that will help it cut waste and achieve its goal. By learning how to recycle e-waste properly, and using the facilities available across Philadelphia, you can help the city reach zero waste by 2035.
Another good reason to dispose of electronic waste responsibly is that it allows you to help improve your local environment. Electronics that end up in landfill can leach dangerous substances into the ground. This can damage the local eco-system for years to come. Properly disposing of e-waste prevents toxic materials from getting into the local environment and helps to safeguard Philadelphia for future generations.
Where can I recycle electronic waste in Philadelphia?
If you want to know how to recycle e-waste in Philadelphia, take a look at the Philadelphia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website. There, you’ll find detailed information on local electronic recycling collection programs. These are both one-off events and ongoing programs that collect e-waste from specific locations.
You can also take your e-waste to one of the many sanitation convenience centers located across the city. These centers are open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. They are free to use and open to residents of Philadelphia only. Convenience centers take e-waste including computers, monitors, televisions, and other computer-related equipment.
Sanitation convenience centers are located in:
- Port Richmond – 3901 Delaware Ave.
- West Philadelphia – 5100 Grays Ave.
- Strawberry Mansion – 2601 W. Glenwood Ave.
- Southwest Philadelphia – 3033 S. 63rd St. near Passyunk Ave.
- Northwest Philadelphia – 300 Block Domino Lane
- Northeast Philadelphia – State Rd. & Ashburner St.
Where can I recycle e-waste in Philadelphia? – Stores and charities
Alternatively, you can take your old electronics to a number of local stores and charities. Places that accept electronic waste in Philadelphia include:
- eForce Recycling
- Best Buy
- Commonwealth Computer Recycling
- Westmoreland Cleanways Recycling Center
How else can I recycle electronics in Philadelphia?
If you’re a business or organization that produces large amounts of e-waste, these drop off points and recycling centers may not meet your requirements. If you want to know where to recycle e-waste in large volumes, we can help. Waste management companies like RTS can arrange for your waste electronics to be collected and disposed of responsibly or non-profits like human-I-T can arrange for responsible donations to people and organizations that could use them.
Additionally, a good alternative to recycling your e-waste is reusing it. Repairing and repurposing electronics, instead of disposing of them, allows you to keep these resources in circulation for longer. As well as keeping e-waste out of landfill, this helps to reduce the weight of demand on the precious resources used to make new electronics.
What does the future hold for electronics recycling in Philly?
With the city committed to becoming zero waste by 2035, the future of electronics recycling in Philadelphia looks bright. However, with more electronic devices being produced year on year, education is key if both recycling and reuse remain priorities.
Our LEED-accredited professionals provide training to businesses that want to improve their waste diversion efforts. These sessions can be carried out online or in-person and are designed to help businesses optimize sustainability and work towards Zero Waste certification.
RTS can help your business reduce waste and do its bit to help Philadelphia achieve its zero waste goals. For more information, contact RTS today to discuss your requirements.
Additionally, if you’d like to learn more about recycling e-waste in our other locations within the US, please refer to our other electronics recycling guides: