E-waste banned from residual waste in New York

A new law has come into effect in New York making it illegal for residents to discard of some electrical items via kerbside waste collections.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electronics are the fastest growing category of solid waste in the United States. However, as they often contain valuable resources (such as rare earths) as well as harmful materials, it is ‘important that they are responsibly recycled’.

E-waste banned from residual waste in New York

As such, the NY State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act law (enacted as Chapter 99 of the Laws of 2010) mandates that from 1 January 2015, any individual or householder my not dispose of certain electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) items, such as computers, televisions, DVD players, MP3 players, tablets, and e-readers, via kerbside waste collections. A similar ban came into force for manufacturers and retailers in 2011, and a year after for all other people other than individuals or householders.

Instead, householders are being asked to recycle of their unwanted electronics through the following means:

  • via the Department of Sanitation’s e-cycleNYC programme;
  • at relevant retail drop-off programmes;
  • via free mail-back programmes;
  • at electronic recycling events, such as the Department of Sanitation’s SAFE Disposal Events; or
  • by donating the electronics to charity or giving away/selling the electronics online.

The law does not include household appliances, batteries (except rechargeable ones), or light bulbs.

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, said: “This new law will help keep electronics, and their potentially harmful components, out of our waste stream. By recycling electronics, New Yorkers can help decrease disposal costs and protect the environment.”

The ban is the latest step the city has taken to encourage more sustainable practices, after it agreed to ban expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage packaging from July 2015, unless it can be determined that the substance can be recycled in an ‘environmentally effective, economically feasible and safe’ way before that time.

Find out more about the electronic equipment disposal ban in the video below.