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Why can’t I throw my old electronics out with my trash?

Pennsylvania instituted a law called the Covered Devices Recycling Act which prohibits residents from disposing of covered devices as trash, and bans haulers from collecting these items as trash. They must be recycled at an approved facility. Covered devices include: Desktop Computers, Laptops, Monitors, Computer peripherals (keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, etc.), Televisions, E-readers.

Doesn't Pennsylvania have a law that requires electronics manufacturers to pay for recycling?

Yes, Pennsylvania has a law that requires electronics manufacturers to fund the recycling in a given year the total weight of products they sold two years ago.  Recently manufactured electronics weigh considerably less than those made ten or more years ago.  As a result, manufacturer recycling requirements decrease every year because the sales weight of newer electronics decreases.  Meanwhile, most of the electronics recycling stream is comprised of older, heavier units that enable manufacturers to quickly meet their established weight-based recycling goals, after which they typically suspend their recycling efforts for the remainder of the year.  In the end, manufacturer supported recycling programs do not meet the demand for electronics recycling in Pennsylvania.  No electronics manufacturers have offered to support electronics recycling in Northampton County. 

What types of items are considered to be household hazardous waste?

Household hazardous waste is any unwanted household product labeled as flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive.  The most common products include aerosols, antifreeze, household cleaning agents, motor oil, paint supplies, photo chemicals, poisons, and solvents.

Where can I take my Household Hazardous Waste?

Donating products to neighbors, community groups, churches, etc. is a great way to dispose of your unwanted products.  Improper disposal of these products is not only illegal, but can contaminate drinking water, and seriously injure garbage and recycling collection employees. Northampton County's household hazardous waste program offers a free disposal program to all residents of Northampton County to ensure safe disposal.   

What do I do with batteries? 

 Alkaline batteries, used mostly in toys and flashlights, can be thrown away with your regular trash.  
Lead Acid, (automotive, motorcycle, etc.) should be taken to any store that sells lead acid batteries.  If you are purchasing a new lead acid battery, most places give a discount off the purchase of the new battery when you bring the old one in.
All other batteries can be recycled at an HHW and Electronics Collection event or here.

What do I do with leftover paint?

Donate your leftover paint to friends, relatives, non-profits, even theater groups for scene/prop work.

Paint and varnish are the most common household products that become household hazardous waste. There are two types of paints and varnishes: oil based and water based (latex). Latex paint is not considered hazardous and is NOT collected at Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) events.
· Oil paint disposal: Oil based paint, turpentine, paint remover, paint thinner, shellac, stains & varnishes, furniture stripper and finisher and wall paper cement are all accepted at Northampton County Household Hazardous Waste events.
· Latex paint disposal: Latex Paint is water based and NOT considered hazardous waste. It is NOT accepted at Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) events.
Latex Paint Recycling: The best option to manage latex paint is to give it to someone to use or recycle it.  ReStore, a division of Habitat for Humanity, occasionally offers drop-off collections at the Whitehall, PA store location.  Restrictions apply.

****Latex paint cannot be recycled if it contains mold or debris.****

To dispose of open containers of latex paint:
How to solidify water based (latex) paint: When solidifying paint, the same safety precautions should be taken as for painting walls and other surfaces. (i.e.: wear gloves,
don't smoke, keep area ventilated)
For smaller quantities: Take an absorbent material such as kitty litter, sand, saw-dust, newspaper and add to the paint. Stir paint. The paint will absorb to these materials and speed along the drying process. The drying time depends on the amount of paint you have, and the amount of absorbent material you add.
For Large Quantities: Dump paint into an old bucket or trash bag lined cardboard box. Add absorbent material and stir. You may want to add absorbent material first to ease the mixing process.
For all methods, to ensure latex paint is dry, plunge a screwdriver or other tool into the paint. If it does not penetrate, paint is dry. Once water based paint (latex) is dry it is safe to throw in the trash.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a goal for the future world. A sustainable society understands that the Earth has a limited amount of natural resources. As responsible residents of a sustainable environment we seek to develop lifestyles and perhaps change habits.
· Protect the air we breathe by limiting our carbon emissions. Easy examples to try to adopt: don’t idle your car; unplug electronic chargers; don’t burn trash.
· Keep our water clean by not dumping anything that does not belong in streams; avoid littering, and be mindful of what goes down the drain.
· Reduce the use of water in kitchens, bathrooms and yards.
· Save our natural resources by reducing what we purchase and throwaway.
· Reuse items whenever possible and avoid specialty items that are single use.

How can I reduce, reuse and recycle?

Actively sort your recyclables into single-stream or separate recycling bins
· Buy green or recycled products
· Reuse items for new purposes
· Consider trading or donating items you no longer need
· Think before you print – if you already have an electronic copy, don't print another
· Set your printer to double-sided printing
· Don't drive if you can walk
· Share a ride when you can
· Use a bike to get around quickly and easily
· Use re-usable grocery bags for shopping and other purposes
· Use your reusable to-go container for coffee and other drinks


Northampton County does not use general fund tax dollars for its Recycling & Waste program expenses.  Those using the programs are required to pay fees where they apply.

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