MIFFLINTOWN - Those old computer parts lying around the house have more uses than you may think.
Skills of Central Pennsylvania will take old electronics clutter off your hands and use them to provide jobs for local people with disabilities.
The non-profit organization offers the free electronics recycling service at its Juniata and Mifflin county locations, said Denise Hahn, a Skills manager for the two counties.
A box of electronics pieces wait to be recycled at an area Skills of Central Pennsylvania center. The organization, with locations in Port Royal and Lewistown, accepts used electronics and employs people with disabilities to prepare the donations for recycling.
The workers destroy all data and disassemble the parts by hand, Hahn said. The hands-on approach eliminates the hazards of airborne pollutants created by machine destruction, she said.
Skills accepts every brand of computer tower, most monitors, cables, keyboards, mice, printers, DVD players, cell phones, video game systems and more.
They do not accept televisions and broken or scratched monitors, because these parts contain hazardous materials, Hahn said.
Juniata County Planning Director Dave Bardell said he recently contacted Hahn to discuss expanding recycling services at Skills.
"In this county, we don't have (another) drop-off for electronics," Bardell said. "We're working with Skills to expand what they're accepting."
The recycling service will become even more vital to the community beginning in 2013.
In January, a state law will go into effect eliminating electronics, televisions and other computer-related parts from landfills. The Covered Device Recycling Act also imposes new recycling requirements on manufacturers.
Bardell said he has known about the law for about a year, and he has been working to create more recycling options for Juniata County residents.
One of the hurdles, Bardell said, is the disposal of old television sets.
The new law requires manufacturers to provide recycling options for old televisions when people buy a new one, Bardell said; but for people who aren't buying, there is no where in the county to get rid of an old TV.
Right now, the closest place for a Juniata County resident to drop off an old television is the Mifflin County Solid Waste Authority, he said.
For electronics recycling, though, Skills offers a valuable service to the community, Bardell said.
The centers will pick up donations for a fee. People should call ahead if they have a large load.
Hahn said the recycling program is certified by the Department of Environmental Protection and R2 (Responsible Recyclers).
Skills operates its electronics recycling program at the following local locations:
Juniata County center - Open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday at the corner of Old Route 22 and state Route 75, Port Royal. For more information, call 436-2101.
Mifflin County center - Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday at 31 Industrial Park Road, Lewistown. For more information, call 242-0313.
Hahn said the Skills program teaches important job skills and provides a paycheck to local people who have disabilities.
Both the Juniata and Mifflin county sites also offer subcontracted services to businesses and industry.
Skills participants have completed jobs such as packaging, assembly, disassembly, collating, labeling, sorting and mass mailing for area companies.
Skills of Central Pennsylvania focuses on supporting individuals with disabilities so they can live self-determined lives. The organization, based in Centre County, offers services in 16 counties.
For more information, visit www.skillsofcentralpa.org or call (814) 329-4026.