RECYCLING & WASTE

NRDC's Kate Sinding discusses NY's new e-waste law.

New York Begins Recycling E-Waste

If you’re like many New Yorkers, there’s a good chance you’ve got a computer from years past lurking under your desk or a TV or iPod that’s on the fritz. And when it comes time to dispose of these electronic dinosaurs, tossing them in the trash seems like the cheapest and easiest option.

Not anymore. As of April 1, 2011, New York requires manufacturers to take back their toxin-containing used electronics for free from consumers and recycle them.

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E-Waste Recycling FAQs

How does the law work?

Electronics manufacturers in New York must establish and maintain convenient programs for the collection and recycling or reuse of unwanted electronics. Each manufacturer is required to take back any product of its own make for recycling from any residential consumer in the state for free.

Why is it important to recycle electronics?

e-waste

Many electronics contain toxic materials – such as lead and mercury – that can be harmful to humans if not disposed of properly. Left undisturbed, these toxins pose no danger to consumers. But when burned or dumped, unwanted electronics can threaten our air and water.

Which electronics can I recycle, and where do I take them?

You can recycle a range of electronics, like computers, televisions, computer accessories, VCRs and DVD players. Cell phones are not covered under the law.

e-waste

Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation's website for a complete list of rules and accepted electronics. DEC also maintains a list of manufacturer and collective electronic waste acceptance programs, links to their programs' public education webpages, and all forms necessary for manufacturers to comply with the law.

New York City residents should also visit the Department of Sanitation website for information on periodic collection events in neighborhoods throughout the city.

WHAT WE'RE DOING

  • Continuing our two-decade campaign to implement and strengthen New York City's 1989 recycling law, including advocating for legislation that expands the program to include more plastics and improves city recycling. Learn about how the new laws will boost city recycling.
  • Promoting efforts to reduce overall trash production in the New York region by creating innovative programs that decrease reliance on plastic grocery bags and other disposable packaging. Learn about recycling disposable plastic packaging.
  • Implementing and enforcing New York State's cutting edge electronics waste law. Learn more about New York State's e-waste law.
  • Promoting programs that place greater responsibility on manufacturers for limiting the impact their goods have on the environment. Learn about our takeback work.

Mark Izeman, NRDC New York

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NRDC's New York Urban Program Director discusses our work in the region.


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