New York makes it illegal to put electronics in the trash

CC BY 2.0 Mosman Council

Starting in 2015, it will be illegal to leave computers and other electronics for curb-side trash pickup in New York State, as part of an effort to fight e-waste.

Throwing computers, cell phones, tablets and other electronics in the garbage creates a big environmental problem. Maintaining landfills prevents large areas of land from being used more productively (and we consider natural habitats productive too), while at the same time e-waste leaches toxins into the environment, harming animals, plants, and people. Plus, many of the metals and other materials used in our electronics are valuable, and recycling them can help reduce the impact of extracting raw materials.

In 2012, the US generated more e-waste per resident than any other country in the world. But New York State is taking a big step to cut down on the number of electronics that end up in the garbage, and also improve recycling rates. The new ban on discarding most gadgets in curb-side garbage goes into effect January 1st.

Instead of putting old electronics in the trash, New Yorkers will have a number of recycling options. Retailers such as Staples and Best Buy will have drop-off bins, as well as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the Gowanus E-Waste Warehouse. There will also be recycling events held throughout the state. A number of manufacturers have mail-back programs and large residential buildings in New York City can enroll in a free pick-up service.

If your unwanted electronics still work, they can be sold or donated through the NYC Stuff Exchange.

The ban includes TVs, VCRs, computers, tablets, video game consoles and other computer peripherials. New York State law already prohibits putting rechargeable batteries in the trash, and requires all cell phone service provides to collect mobile phones for recycling. You can find a full list of affected devices here.

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