Green Tip: Properly Recycling Electronic Waste

Green Tips | August 21, 2017

In order to be compliant with the New York State’s Electronic Recycling and Reuse Act, electronics manufactures are required to take back any products under their brand name for recycling.

The final stage of the law, which banned electronic waste in landfills in 2011, now prohibits certain electronic items from being picked up curbside. Violators can be fined $100 for placing electronics such as computers and TVs at the curb for disposal. You can find the whole list of banned items online.

Electronics are made with heavy metals, chemicals, and plastics and when e-waste is disposed of in landfills, these items leach out toxins into the environment that pollute the air, water, and soil. If recycled, precious metals and other valuables from e-waste can be reclaimed and reused instead of mining for new materials. By diverting electronic waste from landfills, we are able to conserve natural resources and simultaneously keeping the environment cleaner and safer.

Following are various options for discarding your unwanted electronics:

  • Drop off electronics, whether or not the equipment is still working, at Goodwill (no CRTs), Salvation Army, Best Buy, or Staples (no TVs)
  • Ask your retailer if they will reclaim your old electronic item when they deliver your new one
  • NYC apartment buildings with 10 or more units can sign up with e-cycleNYC for free and convenient recycling collection service
  • Bring old electronics to an upcoming SAFE Disposal event or to a Lower East Side Ecology Center e-waste event
  • Donate or sell old items that can still be used
  • See if your brand offers free mail-back options on this list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS
  • Outside of New York City, contact your town or county to find out when local e-waste recycling events are scheduled

To avoid creating a great deal of e-waste in the first place, purchase a good-quality product. It may cost more up-front, but it will last longer and be beneficial in the long run.

By Breanna Giovanniello

< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit

Get Involved