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New Recycling Rules Ban Throwing Electronics in the Trash

By Irene Plagianos | December 31, 2014 7:37am | Updated on January 2, 2015 5:11pm
 Throwing away your computers, old iPods and TVs will soon be banned across NYC.
Electronics Recycling
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NEW YORK CITY — If finally getting rid of that broken-down computer or ancient VCR is one of your New Year’s resolutions, just make sure not to toss them into the trash.

Starting Jan. 1, throwing almost all electronics in the garbage — including DVD players, televisions, video game consoles and tablets — becomes illegal across the city.

Thanks to a state law banning the disposal of electronic waste for environmental reasons, sanitation workers won’t pick up that busted printer anymore.

That means New Yorkers are now going to have to recycle those unwanted electronic devices.

And, if you don’t comply, you could get a summons for leaving electronic garbage curbside, said Sanitation Department spokeswoman Belinda Mager.

Not included in the ban are appliances, light bulbs and batteries.

The new law is vital, the Sanitation Department said, because electronics — the fastest growing category of solid waste in the country — contain materials that are bad for the environment, but valuable for making a variety of products.

“Things like cadmium, lead and mercury in electronics are harmful for the environment but are also very valuable materials,” Mager said. “It makes sense to recycle them, to keep them out of our waste stream.”

Here’s how to kick-off the New Year with E-cycling:

Drop Off Electronics at Retail Locations.
There are more than 90 locations, including Best Buys, the Salvation Army and the Gowanus E-Waste Warehouse where you can drop off unwanted electronics. Here’s a handy map of where you can leave the old electronics, free of charge:

The Sanitation Department’s e-cycleNYC program                                                                       

Apartment buildings with 10 or more units can enroll for this free pick-up service. E-cycling, which began last year, now has 1,500 buildings involved in the program. Head here for more information.

Electronic Recycling Events
Local organizations, including the Lower East Side Ecology Center, offer periodic e-waste recycling events. You can also check out the Department of Sanitation’s SAFE Disposal Events.

Free Mail Back Programs
The company you bought the electronics from may let you just send them back for recycling. Visit your brand’s website for details.

Is The Device You're Throwing Out Still Working? Donate or Sell It.
Check out NYC Stuff Exchange to find a place to buy, sell, or donate electronics.

For a complete list of electronics that must be recycled, visit this site.