HARRISBURG – November 19, 2019 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today commented on committee passage of Senate Bill 766, Leach’s bill to update the state’s household hazardous waste collection program to accommodate an increase in the public’s use of such programs and to reflect inflation since the state first launched the program in 1996.
“Most people don’t have the ability to safely dispose of their household’s hazardous waste, and so they rely on their county government to organize and host free collection events,” Leach said. “These events have become super popular and county governments are struggling to accommodate the increase in demand they’ve seen in the last two decades. This is especially true for the more suburban counties like Montgomery and Delaware.”
“There’s a reason these events are so popular, it’s because people have a lot of household hazardous waste they have to get rid of,” Leach continued. “This need is clearly a need of many Pennsylvanians, and I’m happy the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee was able to confirm that today by advancing my bill. My hope is that we can quickly get this to the Senate floor for a full vote and ultimately get county governments the financial assistance they need from the state in order to host these sort of events.
Leach introduced SB 766 earlier this year. It was assigned to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in June. The Committee today decided 11-0 to advance Leach’s bill. Senate Republican leadership will now decide the next steps. Leach expects the bill to be assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Act 190 of 1996 provides matching state funding up to $100,000 per county in order to help counties host these important events. That $100,000 limit has not been increased since 1996, despite the fact that the cost to counties to hold these events has increased exponentially over the last two decades.
Leach’s work on the issue comes after meeting and discussing the current program with constituents and local stakeholders. Veronica Harris, Montgomery County’s Recycling Manager, recently gave Leach a tour at one of Montgomery County’s recycling events. Harris also answered questions for Leach and his staff and provided a detailed look at what it takes to safely and efficiently coordinate these types of events.
“Household hazardous waste collections run by Pennsylvania counties ensure that chemicals that are dangerous to human health such as flammable liquids, pesticides, aerosols, and automotive products are properly recycled or destroyed,” Harris said. “Without access to these collection events, residents have to either stock pile chemicals which leads to dangerous home fires or put them in the trash which injures sanitation workers. Funding from the state to help counties to offer these collections has not changed since 1996 despite increased volumes of chemicals and increased collection and disposal costs. Senate Bill 766 would update the state’s funding to correspond to current expense levels and allow counties to continue to provide this critical environmental health program.”
Harris is available for comment and can be reached at VHarris@montcopa.org or 610.278.3744.
Household hazardous wastes are wastes produced in households that are hazardous in nature but not already regulated as hazardous waste under federal and/or state law. HHW materials typically belong to one of the following categories: corrosives, flammables, toxic materials, oxidizers, air quality hazards and wildlife hazards. To find out more about which items are considered HHW click here.
Senator Daylin Leach represents the 17th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery County and Delaware County. For more information visit www.senatorleach.com/newsroom.