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Cars snake around Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills for first of 5 electronics recycling events | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Cars snake around Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills for first of 5 electronics recycling events

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Michael Swensen | Tribune-Review
Brett Reilly, 25, of Export (left) and Jeffrey Fisher, 27, of New Alexandria wrap television sets to be placed on a truck for recycling at the Pittsburgh Mill mall on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
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Michael Swensen |Tribune-Review
Kyle Winkler, 38, of Pittsburgh carries a television to the pile being created in the Dick's Sporting Goods parking lot at the Pittsburgh Mills mall during a hard to recycle event on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
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Michael Swensen | Tribune-Review
Volunteers at the Hard to Recycle event at the Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer prepare television sets to be recycled on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
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Michael Swensen | Tribune-Review
Lee Talley, 42, of Monroeville wraps televisions during the Hard to Recycle event held at the Pittsburgh Mills mall on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Mark Stehlik rented a pickup, drove all the way from Carnegie to Frazer, and waited 90 minutes — all so he could pay to get rid of “one big, honkin’ TV.”

Stehlik was among hundreds of people who encircled the Pittsburgh Mills mall Saturday to get rid of unwanted electronics. Televisions and old computer monitors weren’t the only things being taken for recycling, but accounted for much of the traffic.

Televisions ranged from the wooden consoles to more current flat screens. Workers stacked them on wooden pallets and wrapped them in plastic before loading them onto trucks.

Stehlik said he was unloading his 15-year-old, 48-inch projection set after getting a new 53-inch TV for Christmas that’s thinner, lighter and has a superior picture.

The old set still works, but “it was time for an upgrade,” he said. “In its day, it was probably top of the line. Technology moves on. People want flat-screen TVs. This is not the thing anymore.”

The “hard to recycle” collection was the first of five that the Pennsylvania Resources Council will hold this year. Others will be held in June, July, August and October in Leetsdale, McCandless, West Mifflin and Robinson Township, respectively.

While scheduled to start at 9 a.m., people were waiting at 7 a.m. and the first car was taken a half-hour early, said Justin Stockdale, the resources council’s western regional director.

By the end of the day, Stockdale said about 800 vehicles had come through, and 75,000 to 80,000 pounds of electronics alone were taken.

Like Stehlik, by late morning many said they had waited about 90 minutes to reach the unloading area, where about 40 people were working.

“It proves just how desperate people are to get rid of this stuff,” Stockdale said.

State law has banned televisions and other covered electronic devices such as computers and monitors from landfills since 2013. But, as time has passed, it has become increasingly difficult for residents to properly dispose of unwanted electronics, particularly large and heavy cathode ray tube televisions that have been replaced by flat screens.

That’s made the collection events very popular. Stockdale said they had to turn away people who arrived too late.

“People just don’t have any other options,” he said. “It shouldn’t be this way. There’s absolutely no reason for it.

“The (state) Legislature has made choices that force this issue, that force this reality to push people into this situation,” he said.

Workers said people, for the most part, were nice, but kind of moody after waiting so long. Police were directing traffic.

David Villani of West Deer brought in a 46-inch projection TV. It died a few months ago, but he hasn’t replaced it yet.

Without many other options, he said paying to get rid of it was worth it.

“I’m glad to get rid of it. It’s huge,” he said. “It’s been sitting waiting for something like this to come along.”

Sharon Breisinger of Springdale said she had three big, old TVs.

“They were still working so we held onto them,” she said. “We decided it was time. They’re too heavy for us.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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