New Law Banning E-Waste with Regular Trash Goes into Effect
The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act, which was signed into law by the governor on May 28, 2010, took effect in full on Jan. 1, 2015. Overseeing the law’s enforcement is the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Businesses and households are no longer allowed to dispose of their e-waste by placing it for collection intended for processing at a solid waste or hazardous waste management facility. In short, you can’t place e-waste at the curb with normal trash and recycling.
The city will allow a grace period until March 2015. Stickers will be placed on each piece of electronic trash informing you the trash is not allowed in the waste stream. Following that, owners will be fined $100 for each violation.
How to Dispose of E-Waste
Recycling electronic equipment keeps harmful materials out of the waste stream and the environment. While safe to use, electronics often contain lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials. In fact, electronics make up the largest and fastest growing component of the hazardous materials entering the waste stream.
NYC apartment buildings with 10 or more units are eligible to participate in a program that provides buildings with a free and convenient service to pick up and recycle unwanted electronics. This program specifically targets apartment buildings because over 50 percent of the city’s population lives in apartment buildings, and over 50 percent of the city’s population has no access to a vehicle. Due to these factors, the rate of electronics recycling in New York City falls below the state average.
The Department of Sanitation hopes to boost the electronics recycling rate in the city by targeting those buildings that have the most difficulty recycling their electronics. The multiple-dwelling residential electronics recycling program is called “e-cycleNYC.” And depending on the size and type of apartment building, a variety of service options are available. The options include:
Room cleanouts (buildings with 10 or more units). E-cycleNYC removes electronics self-stored by participating buildings.
Storage bins (buildings with 50 or more units). The program provides your building with a locking bin to store electronics. There are two bin sizes available, a small bin (2 ft. deep x 4 ft. wide x 5 ft. high) and a large bin (2 ft. deep x 5.5 ft. wide x 6 ft. high).
Building events (buildings with 250 or more units). The program removes electronics during pre-scheduled, outdoor events that buildings organize for their residents.
Covered Electronic Equipment
The items listed below are considered covered electronic equipment (CEE) by the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act. Therefore, these items are accepted by e-cycleNYC and otherwise banned from regular disposal:
- Computers (including items such as tablets and e-readers) and peripherals such as any cable, cord, or wiring permanently affixed to or incorporated into such product;
- Televisions (as well as cathode ray tubes) and TV peripherals;
- Small-scale servers;
- Electronic keyboards;
- Electronic mice or similar pointing devices;
- Facsimile machines (only those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs);
- Document scanners (only those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs);
- Printers (only those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs);
- Digital video recorders;
- DVD players;
- Digital converter boxes;
- Cable or satellite receivers;
- Electronic or video game consoles;
- Portable devices;
- Portable digital music players;
- Tablets (considered a computer); and
- E-readers (considered a computer).
What’s Not Accepted
The following items may be mistaken for covered electronic equipment, but they’re not accepted by the e-cycleNYC program. These items include:
Appliances. If predominantly metal or rigid plastic, recycle these with other metal and plastic recyclables, otherwise discard as trash.
Loose batteries. Bring rechargeable batteries to any store that sells them, such as a pharmacy, office supply, or hardware store. Rechargeable batteries may contain mercury, cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals thath can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. Alkaline batteries can be discarded in the trash. Standard alkaline batteries are not considered hazardous waste, since they no longer contain mercury.
Fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs can be dropped off for free recycling at any Home Depot, IKEA, Lowes, or other participating retailers. CFLs and other fluorescents can be brought to any of NYC Department of Sanitation’s Household Special Waste Drop-Off Sites or SAFE disposal events.
How to Enroll
If you’re interested in participating in the e-cycleNYC electronics recycling program, you can complete an online inquiry form at www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/contact/enrollmentform.shtml.