With the arrival of the New Year, many will be taking the old adage "Out with the old and in with the new" to heart, by tossing out unwanted computers, televisions and DVD players with the trash to make room for newly acquired gadgets.
Not so fast.
Beginning Jan. 1, the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits any business or local government from collecting specified electronic equipment for disposal in a landfill/waste-to-energy facility, or be faced with a hefty fine of up to $250 per incident.
The purpose of the law—which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 28, 2010—is twofold: to prevent the seepage of toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury and cadmium into water and soil; and to divert more waste from being dumped into landfills that are already beyond capacity.
Electronic equipment covered by the law includes computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice and monitors as well as VCRs, cable boxes and video game consoles, among other things. A full list of items can be found here on the DEC's website.
Although less convenient than simply leaving unwanted items curbside for garbage pickup, New York residents do have several other recycling options to be in compliance with the new law including:
- Bringing your item to a participating store to be recycled, free of charge.
- Best Buy - This store accepts some items at their stores for recycling, and allows you to return other items for trade-ins for store credit, depending on the make and model. Click here (right below the drop down menu) for a complete list of what is accepted in-store and here for a quote on your trade-in item.
- Staples - You can bring in most items to be recycled free of charge at stores, excluding monitors, printers and shredders which usually require a $10 fee. Click here for a quote on trade-in items.
- Goodwill - Through a participating program with Dell Reconnect, Goodwill locations will accept any brand of used computer equipment or peripherals and will provide a receipt for tax purposes.
- The county's soon to be opened Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF), located on the Grasslands Campus in Valhalla, will accept many of the same items collected at the Household Material Recovery Days. The center will be open three days per week, including Saturdays; appointment required.
- The county provides four dates per year for Household Material Recovery Days at various locations throughout Westchester (DEC Region 3). Rockland residents have a permanent facility in Pomona open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday and some weekend days - please call (845) 364-2444 for hours. For the next collection days in 2012 please call (914) 813-5425; click here for a list of items that will be accepted at the days, including electronics.
- Contact the manufacturer of your electronic item to inquire about their recycling policy. Check here for the DEC's complete list of company names, websites and phone numbers.