Earlier this year, the New York City Department of Sanitation adopted a rule that prohibits leaving electronic waste out for collection with regular trash or recyclables. This rule goes into effect on March 20, 2015, at which time violators will become liable for a civil penalty of $100 per violation. Electronic waste covered under the rule includes the following:
- Computers (including laptops, desktops, tablets, e-readers)
- TVs, cathode ray tubes
- Small-scale servers (including external storage drives)
- Computer peripherals (including monitors, keyboards, mice, fax machines, scanners, printers weighing less than 100 lbs, and the cables, cords or wiring associated with these products)
- TV peripherals (including VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, digital converter boxes, cable or satellite receivers, video game consoles)
- Portable digital music players
This rule enforces part of the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act which phased in a mandate that all electronics be recycled and not disposed of with regular trash and other recyclable materials. Since April 2011, manufacturers, retailers and owners or operators of electronic waste collections sites, consolidation facilities or recycling facilities have been prohibited from disposing of covered electronic equipment. As of January 2012, disposal of covered electronic equipment by all other entities except for individuals and households was similarly banned, and since January 1, 2015 the ban was extended to apply to individuals and households.
Instead of placing electronic equipment out for pickup, consumers must take electronics to NYS-registered electronics recycling facilities or collection sites, or take advantage of manufacturer take-back programs. Residential buildings with more than 10 units may also be eligible for on-site electronics collection through the New York City Department of Sanitation’s e-cycleNYC program. Consumers seeking assurance that their electronics will be handled responsibly can use recycling facilities that are R2 or E-Stewards certified, which means they have committed to sustainable recycling practices and worker health and safety. More information on responsible electronics recycling can be found in a previous SPR blog post here.