Recycling electronics in New York gets easier

| June 4, 2013

That smashed iPhone you’re about to toss in the garbage? Not so fast — especially if you’re one of the millions of apartment-dwellers in New York City. There’s a new electronics recycling program in town.

Why NYC? As the most densely populated city in the United States, it has more than its share of apartments. Apartment living is part of the culture in the Big Apple, but there’s one problem: when you live on the 14th floor, recycling electronics in New York isn’t as simple as it may be for suburbanites who can simply haul a bin from an attached garage to a curbside.

E-waste organized into piles

It ain’t easy to get electronic waste to the right dropoff point in New York City – that’s why city officials are now offering e-waste pickup. From JuditK.

Now imagine hauling an old television set down the stairs, on the subway, and to the nearest drop-off site!

The complexities of recycling for the “vertically housed” mean that they’re less inclined to participate in recycling programs — especially when it comes to clunky, bulky items. With over 8.3 million residents — most of whom live in apartments — the lack of recycling adds up.

E-waste is an increasing contributor to the landfills around NYC. Televisions and computers are most cumbersome for residents with a lack of safe and convenient drop-off options, but cell phones and tablets are being cast aside unsafely in droves. In a city as plugged in — and quick to jump to the newest gadget — as NYC, e-waste is a major issue.

Fortunately, the city’s new program, dubbed e-cycleNYC, is designed to make recycling electronics in New York City a lot easier on residents. Under the new program, buildings with more than ten units are eligible to participate.

Building managers or representatives can sign up to receive a bin specifically designated — and clearly labeled — for electronics recycling. Participants can reportedly request a specific collections day.

New York City took the search for an electronics recycling partner seriously, ensuring that the winning bidder would safely and responsibly dispose of all e-waste — with none of it ending up in a landfill or as an illegal export.

The winning bidder for e-cycleNYC: Electronic Recyclers International (ERI). As the “largest privately held electronics recycler in the country,” the Fresno-based organization is in the process of opening a transfer station in New York City to accommodate the new program.

ERI boasts the “highest capacity and most technologically advanced e-waste shredding system in North America.” ERI’s seven processing facilities recycle approximately 200 million pounds of electronics each year, all in compliance “with the strictest industry and environmental standards available.”

e-waste on the ground

E-waste has the potential to leak harmful compounds like mercury into the groundwater. From Takomabibelot.

Why does responsible electronics recycling matter? In a report from New York City’s Department of Sanitation, New York’s Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty explains: “Recycling electronic equipment keeps harmful materials out of NYC’s waste stream and the environment. While safe to use, electronics often contain lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials and in fact make up the largest and fastest growing component of the hazardous materials entering our waste stream.”

Outreach has already begun in the Big Apple, and rolling enrollment means that apartment managers and representatives can sign up when it’s convenient. Here’s hoping electronics recycling is the latest fashion to catch on in America’s most trend-conscious city.


Category: Electronics, Recycling programs

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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