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E-waste: Recycle or Dispose of It Responsibly

E-waste: Recycle or Dispose of It Responsibly

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Americans produce more e-waste than any other country in the world. 9.4 million tons of e-waste is being thrown away by Americans each year. The amount of e-waste that is actually recycled is a disappointing 12.5%.  New Yorker's, let’s increase the amount of e-waste that is disposed of properly!

First things first, what *is* e-waste? E-waste is any electronics item that is either obsolete, on unwanted. E-waste can be functional, or non-functional electronics. Examples of e-waste are: mobile telephones, corded telephones, answering machines, pagers, PDAs, laptop computers, tablets, e-readers, desktop computers, keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers, batteries, hard drives, mainframes, servers, computer battery backup systems, monitors, modems, routers, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, printers < 100lb, scanners, fax machines, TVs, VCRs, DVRs, Blu-ray players, digital converter boxes, cable/satellite receivers, portable music players, a/V equipment, video-games, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, cassette tapes.

According to the United Nations, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste are discarded every year. 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste was shipped to developing countries in 2014, creating a dumping problem, and sickness among residents. To add insult to injury, the U.S. is also using resources to transport waste. There are more mobile phones in the world than there are people and this will only get worse.  The growth of mobile phones compared to population growth is five times greater. 350,000 mobile phones are discarded every single day, which is more than 152 million mobile phones annually.

E-waste has historically been difficult to dispose of responsibly, but the good news is that it has become easier as of late. As part of New York City's zero waste initiative, throwing e-waste out with your regular trash or recycling is now considered unlawful for both businesses and consumers in New York City, as of January 2017, and can result in a $100 fine if you are audited and caught mishandling e-waste.

The good news is that the New York City government is helping to make it easier to dispose of e-waste properly. In Brooklyn and Staten Island, you may actually schedule an e-waste pick up for free, organized by the government!  To have the city pick up your e-waste, you must fill out this simple form two weeks in advance of the date that you would like your e-waste picked up: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dsny/site/contact/e-waste-pickup-request Keep in mind that e-waste pick up items must be placed on your curb after 4PM the night before your scheduled pick up.

There are other ways that responsible e-waste disposal is becoming easier.  Electronics manufacturers, electronic stores as well as mobile phone stores are now required by law to accept e-waste recycling.  Before lugging your e-waste haul to one of these stores, contact them first to ensure they will accept your items and any stipulations that may exist.  I regularly bring used batteries to my local Staples and they are happy to take them.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is an organization in New York City that organizes environmental education, composting and e-waste opportunities.  Over the months of March and April, the Lower East Side Ecology Center organizes e-waste events throughout NYC so that residents can dispose of their e-waste. Join us in disposing your electronics responsibly by attending one the Lower East Side’s E-waste events this month. We’ll be attending the East Williamsburg e-waste drop-off event on April 28th, 2018. For further information about the Lower East Side Ecology Center, including services offered and specific dates and locations for this year’s e-waste drop-off events.

E-Waste Collection dates + times:
Sunday: April 8, 2018 – Lower East Side, Manhattan
Saturday: April 14, 2018 – Springfield Gardens, Queens
Saturday: April 14, 2018 – Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Sunday:  April 15, 2018 – Flatbush, Brooklyn
Saturday: April 21, 2018 – Bergen Beach, Brooklyn
Saturday: April 21, 2018 – Elmhurst, Queens
Sunday: April 22, 2018 – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Sunday: April 22, 2018 – Upper West Side, Manhattan
Friday: April 27, 2018 – Upper East Side, Manhattan
Saturday: April 28, 2018 – West Village, Manhattan
Saturday: April 28, 2018 – East Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sunday: April 29, 2018 – Woodhaven, Queens
Saturday: May 5, 2018 – Jamaica, Queens
Sunday:May 6, 2018 – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Friday: May 11, 2018 – DUMBO, Brooklyn
Friday: May 11, 2018 – Meatpacking District, Manhattan
Saturday: May 12, 2018 – Little Neck, Queens
Saturday: May 19, 2018 – Jamaica, Queens
Sunday: May 20, 2018 – Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Sunday: May 20, 2018 – Jackson Heights, Queens
Saturday: June 2, 2018 – Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
Sunday: June 3, 2018 – College Point, Queens

Come join us dispose of your electronics and help NYC be zero-waste! We'll be at the April 28th East Williamsburg event. The planet will thank you.  See you then!

Numbers and percentages provided by the EPA, Greenpeace, NYCgov

New York Sustainability Goals
Sustainable and Local Book List 
Made Lokal Home

6 comments

May 21, 2018

don’t know if this is good news or bad news.
happy or depressing.
i guess there is hope, but seems like a dire sitaution

Jillian
May 15, 2018

WHAT?! NYC will pick up your e-waste for free?! This is AMAZING!!!!!!! I will research if my town does this. NO EXCUSE for discarding your plugs, tvs, vcrs, cell phones, etc in the regular trash!!!

Lily
Apr 18, 2018

This is really depressing. I will give second thought to buying new electronics. We simply cannot keep generating this much waste.

Vivienne
Apr 15, 2018

This is so awesome!! I also got a flyer in the mail about this. NYC really ramping it up!!! Go diBlasio

Jami
Apr 08, 2018

Uhhhh! It’s pretty disgusting that we send our toxic waste electronic stuff to people in other countries ;(

Madeline
Apr 08, 2018

Awesome!! I am going to call NYC.gov to schedule an e-waste pickup from me!!!!!!

Cheryl

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