By Madeleine Dale
Electronic throwaways contribute only 1 percent to the volume of waste in landfills, but the EPA blames e-waste for up to 70 percent of the toxins. These toxins include lead, mercury, cadmium, phosphors, etc. Recycling not only keeps these hazards out of air and water but also conserves energy and water, generally reducing pollution.
New York City recently passed a law shifting the burden of end use to product manufacturers that will encourage greener design and mandate recycling. By 2015, the new law will prohibit household disposal of electronics in NYC trash. In the meantime, recycling and repurpose events provide the public with an opportunity to redirect some of the toxic garbage away from landfills.
This year the Lower East Side Ecology Center will hold its ninth annual “After the Holidays” Electronic Waste Recycling Day. In association with Council Member Gale Brewer and the West Side YMCA, the event will feature drop-off locations at the north and south end of Central Park on Jan. 22, 2012, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The event will accept computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes and monitors), printers scanners, fax-machines, copiers, network devices (routers, hubs, modems), peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers), tablets and e-readers, components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies), TVs, VCRs, DVRs and DVD players, digital converter boxes, cable/satellite receivers, portable music players, audio-visual equipment, video-games, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, and telecommunication devices (phones, answering machines).
The event will not accept disks, or batteries or appliances; see the Lower East Side Ecology Center for disposal instructions and locations/dates for future recycling events. Bring gadgets to the West Side YMCA on West 63rd between Broadway and Central Park West or to Central Park North and Lenox Avenue. All collected electronics will be recycled by WeRecycle!, an environmentally and socially responsible local recycler.
The Electronic Waste Recycling Program is made possible by Tekserve, Con Edison and The New York Community Trust, with special incentives provided by Tekserve and Zip Car. For more information and a list of frequently asked questions about e-waste, visit the Lower East Side Ecology Center.
Madeleine Dale is pursuing a certificate at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.