Taking steps toward a cleaner Greene

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Spring is here, and that means municipalities are calling for residents to get rid of unwanted items around their houses during spring cleaning.


Last week this newspaper ran a list of the dates and hours several municipalities would be collecting everything from appliances to mattresses, scrap metal, lumber and tires.


What caught our eye in particular was the listing of computers electronics and televisions among the normal items disposed of during cleanup days.


Electronic products constitute one of the fastest growing streams of today’s consumer and commercial waste. In November 2010, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Covered Device Recycling Act, which established a number of requirements for individuals and entities who possess desktop computers, laptop computers, computer monitors and televisions.


Simply, beginning Jan. 24 of this year, no person may dispose of a covered devices or any of its components with their municipal solid waste. In other works, you can’t put your old desktop computer out the with your week’s accumulation of household trash.


We think it would benefit the residents of Greene County to check out the listing that ran in the Greene County section Friday. It is not a complete list, and if the municipality in which you live is not listed, we recommend you call your township office or borough building.


Residents of some townships listed, such as Greene, which will not accept computers and electronics, and Jackson, which will not accept televisions, can take those devices to the Old Greensboro School in Greensboro or to Harveys-Aleppo Grange in Gray Township, both of which will accept these devices from residents of any Greene County community.


However, make sure to check the scheduled cleanup dates and times.


Now that we know these townships and boroughs will take these “covered devices” to places like Goodwill and feel confident they will not end up in landfills, we still need to find a way to dispose of combustible and hazardous materials.


From our initial observation, most if not all of municipalities listed will not accept garbage, combustible or hazardous materials and tires. So what happens to this stuff? Unfortunately, much of its gets dumped over hillsides or thrown out car windows, littering roadsides.


During the last several years, there have been efforts to clean up illegal dumps in various municipalities. These cleanup efforts have resulted in the collection of refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, plus car parts and household trash.


Some of the other cleanup projects resulted in the removal of more than eight tons of household garbage, construction material and discarded tires, and three tons of general household waste.


This is extraordinary. What bothers us the most is that words such as “decades worth” and “tons” are use to describe what volunteers find. Apparently, people believe it is their inalienable right to throw a refrigerator over an embankment, along with their old tires and any other unwanted goods.


Municipalities in Greene County have taken the initiative to collect electronics that used to end up in landfills. Now, if we can just change the mindset of those who find it easier to cast their trash over a hillside than to take it to proper disposal sites, we might have a cleaner and safer county in which to live.


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