One company is hoping to create Prince George’s County’s first electronics recycling plant in Cheverly.
Eyeing a Maryland location, Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Electronics hopes to transform the vacant Craftsman Press building in the Cheverly Industrial Park into a plant that dismantles electronics.
U.S. Electronics is a partnership between Paul Smith, president of Capitol Heights-based shredding business Joseph Smith & Sons Inc., and Atlanta-based MTD America Ltd., which designs recycling machinery.
The Prince George’s County Code must be amended by the County Council’s last 2012 public hearing on Nov. 20 to define electronics recycling since there is no existing standard, said Cheverly Mayor Michael Callahan.
If approved by that date, the legislation would go into effect Jan. 1, but a delay could push the project’s approval to spring 2013, said Thomas Haller, an attorney for U.S. Electronics.
County Councilwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5) of Springdale, who has the industrial park in her coverage area, said the special exception process can take up to two years and Haller said that means U.S. Electronics may consider other Maryland locations to set up shop instead. Craftsman Press filed for bankruptcy in February, according to federal court documents.
“We have the opportunity of having a business to go in there that’s going to bring tax revenue to the county and employ anywhere from 60 to 100 people,” Harrison said.
Harrison did not have an estimate Friday on how much potential revenue it could bring in.
The amendment would define electronics recycling as collecting items from the solid waste stream such as computers and cell phones and either dismantling or preparing them for shipment for further processing according to “R2 Standards” — a set of guidelines created by former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employees and current recycling company owners.
Without a county code amendment, U.S. Electronics would have to file a special exception through the county government to have an electronics recycling facility.
Bob Reading, an environmental planner with the county’s Department of Environmental Resources, said he thinks having a recycling plant in the county would be a great idea and he has seen participation increase at an Upper Marlboro electronics acceptance site that opened in 2000. The acceptance site does not dismantle non-hazardous items like the proposed Cheverly site would, he said.
“I know that the first year we collected a little over 11 tons of electronics,” Reading said. “In 2011 we collected over 260 tons.”