NRDC: NYC Electronics Recycling Program Under Attack

Lobby Groups for Electronics Manufacturers Fight Implementation of Long-Awaited Recycling Program

Jenny Powers, 212-727-4566

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 24, 2009) – New York City’s electronics recycling law was challenged today by two electronics manufacturing trade associations – Consumer Electronics Association and Information Technology Industry Council.  The lawsuit seeks to prevent the city from implementing its new law, which requires electronics manufacturers to develop convenient plans for the collection and recycling of discarded electronic waste, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Electronics are the fastest growing portion of the municipal waste stream in the United States.  Millions of old computers and TVs containing toxins including lead, cadmium and mercury are tossed every year.   According to US EPA, at least 40 percent of the lead in landfills comes from discarded electronics.  The new law directs manufacturers to implement a convenient system for New York City residents to return their used electronics that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated to the companies for safe disposal.    

A statement follows from Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney in the New York Urban Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This 11th hour move to obstruct a common-sense municipal recycling program similar to those in 19 states calls into question the environmental credentials these manufacturers actively promote. 

“The City’s landmark recycling law would keep thousands of tons of spent electronics out of our landfills and incinerators every year.  It’s unfortunate that the nation’s leading manufacturers, hiding behind their trade associations, are trying to prevent this long overdue environmental program from taking effect. 

“Recycling electronics is a sensible strategy to protect our water, air and health while providing a second life for the valuable materials these products contain.

 “We will work with the New York City Council and the Bloomberg Administration to stave off this industry effort to upend this critical environmental legislation.”

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