My NRDC colleague Jon Krois and I attended the kick-off press conference this morning for New York City’s ambitious new electronics waste recycling program. The program will make it much more convenient for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to recycle their electronic waste -- right in their own apartment buildings. If successful, this new program will help insure that yesterday’s electronic junk does not become tomorrow’s environmental pollution. Here’s Jon’s report from the front lines:
At a high-rise residential tower in eastern Queens, NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonen announced the launch of an ambitious new electronics waste recycling program.
Called E-cycleNYC, the program is designed to greatly expand the e-waste recycling opportunities available to New Yorkers by targeting residents who live in apartment buildings.
New York City’s Deputy Sanitation Commissioner Ron Gonen outlined the city’s new electronic waste recycling program today at a press conference in North Shore Towers, Queens. Under the program, residents living in New York City apartments will for the first time be able to discard their electronic waste in special containers right in their own buildings.
E-cycleNYC will help make e-waste recycling more convenient for all New Yorkers by offering programs designed specifically for apartment buildings:
- For buildings with 10 or more units, the Department of Sanitation will arrange to remove electronics waste that has been collected by building residents;
- For buildings with 50 or more units, the Department will provide a lockable storage bin that can be kept in building basements to collect residents’ unwanted electronics; and
- For buildings with 250 or more units, the Department will hold special e-waste collection events in buildings, at the request of residents.
The new program is a partnership of the Sanitation Department and Electronics Recyclers International (“ERI”). E-cycleNYC is part of a major push over the past 18 months by the Bloomberg Administration to enhance the city’s recycling program and reduce the cost of waste disposal to city taxpayers. The e-waste collection operates at no cost to city taxpayers or to participating buildings and is funded by electronics manufacturers as required by state law.
The City’s new electronic waste recycling program, a partnership between the City’s Sanitation Department and Electronic Recyclers International, owes its origins to landmark e-waste legislation passed by the New York City Council in 2008 and by the New York State legislature in 2010.
Over 50 percent of NYC residents live in apartment buildings, and over 50 percent of NYC residents do not own a car. So even though New York State and New York City have both enacted progressive e-waste recycling laws in recent years, many of city residents have had difficulty getting their unwanted electronics to community drop-off events or retail take-back programs. The programs announced today will expand e-waste recycling and help divert troublesome electronic waste away from landfills and incinerators.
NRDC has worked on securing safe and convenient recycling for electronic waste like old computers, television sets, video game consoles, VCRs, fax machines, and mobile phones for close to a decade.
We hope that New Yorkers in all five boroughs will contact their co-op boards and condo or rental managing agents to request that their buildings be registered with the Sanitation Department so that they can participate in the new program and receive e-waste collections more conveniently than ever before. If you would like to request one of these programs for your apartment building, you can apply online here.
Electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream. And e-waste can contain many toxic constituents that could pollute our water and air if buried in landfills or burned in incinerators. The New York e-waste recycling program properly places the responsibility and cost for disposing of unwanted electronic waste on the manufacturers, who are now working together to help address the problem.