The garbage man won't take that old Zenith you left by the curb. Goodwill just canceled its TV recycling program like a past-its-prime show. And finding information on how to get rid of that old boob tube can seem trickier than programming the remote.
But if you've pulled the plug on the old black-and-white -- or any other set -- and are wondering what to do with it, don't fret. There are plenty of collection sites in Allegheny County ready to accept your television, free of charge in most cases.
Despite Goodwill's recent departure from the TV recycling scene, the number of collection sites this year has actually increased, said Joy Smallwood, recycling officer for the Allegheny County Health Department.
That parallels a big increase in the number of electronics recycled because of a change in state law. In January, Pennsylvania banned the disposal of TV sets in the trash through the Covered Device Recycling Act.
The law requires all electronics to be recycled; retailers to educate consumers about where to take their recycling; and manufacturers to register annually with the state and offer a recycling program for old electronics.
"Really nobody was ever recycling electronics until the act came into place," said Tom Milani, vice president of Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling in Baldwin Borough. "People are more educated now."
Many collection sites saw an influx of consumers with their electronics after trash collectors put stickers on the devices stating that they were no longer able to dispose of them.
For Goodwill, the increase in TVs as a result of the act led to an announcement Tuesday that the agency would no longer be accepting them, as the agency has met its 1.5 million pound recycling allotment for the year.
Just in the past two weeks, 500 TVs have been brought to Michael Brothers.
"Our facility is quite substantial to handle them so we get things done efficiently," Mr. Milani said. "I am little concerned that the recycling final step is getting overwhelmed."
For Michaels Brothers and other recycling facilities, the final step is eLoop, the only facility in the state certified by the Department of Environmental Protection. Recently, Mr. Milani has noticed delays in pickup from eLoop because of the influx of donations. Officials of that company could not be reached.
Another collection point for eLoop is Construction Junction in Point Breeze. Mike Gable, executive director of the site, has also seen a significant increase in TVs dropped off since January. Because of the increase, eLoop has eliminated the fee to donate, allowing Construction Junction to stop charging the customers, Mr. Gable said.
Mr. Gable estimates that his company now receives about eight tons of material per week. To meet the demand, eLoop has parked a 53-foot tractor-trailer at the site to be loaded with the electronics. The trailer fills about once a week, Mr. Gable said.
One of Construction Junction's previous TV donors is state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, who supported the act to help reduce the volume of municipal waste.
"It was not hard to imagine that it was going to be successful," he said. "The whole area of electronics and the rapidly changing technology creates obsolete electronics overnight and people need to dispose of them and putting them in municipal waste is not the appropriate way."
While the DEP's primary goal of the act is to stop the toxic components of the electronics from entering the state's landfills, there are also economic benefits of the act, DEP information specialist Lisa Kasianowitz said.
"Precious metals can be derived from the reharvesting of the electronics and put back in the Pennsylvania economy so it also benefits the economic sphere," she said.
Electronics retailers are required to provide consumers with information about where to take their electronics for recycling but the businesses do not have to have their own collection programs.
Best Buy, a state-registered manufacturer and retailer, has a "Go Green Campaign" and began collecting recycled electronics a year and a half ago, said Alisha Rector, customer service agent at the North Hills Village store. Due to demand from customers, the company eliminated the fee to recycle and limits three items to be recycled per household per day.
Customers with console TVs, tube TVs larger than 32 inches and flat panel TVs larger than 50 inches must arrange a pickup with the store's haul-away program, costing $100 per pickup. Ms. Rector said most customers looking to recycle their TVs are able to do so for free at the store.
Claire Aronson: email@example.com, 412-263-1964 or on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.