Wednesday, June 19

New E-waste Law in New York State Makes Throwing Electronics Out With Regular Trash Illegal

Aside from sticking to their New Year’s resolutions in 2015, New Yorkers will also have to get used to a new law that bans discarding e-waste with regular trash on the curb.

The Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act takes effect on January 1 and will make it illegal to throw away electronic devices with normal garbage and recycling. Those who do will face a $100 fine per violation.

Nearly every type of electronic device is banned under the new law, including TVs, computers, computer monitors, keyboards, cellphones, MP3 players and video games, according to the New York publication Capital.

Electronics that end up in the trash pose a major threat to both the environment and people’s health, filling up landfills across the country and releasing toxic chemicals into the soil. Most electronics also consist of expensive metal materials that go to waste when they are thrown in the garbage. By recycling these items instead, people can reduce their impact on the environment and help improve public health.

To help New York City residents ease into the new law, NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia presented an educational campaign at a City Council meeting that lays out exactly what can and cannot be left for curb-side pickup, and the consequences for breaking the law.

“For over a year, all of our apartment building super and manager recycling trainings highlighted e-cycleNYC and mention the upcoming ban,” Garcia said, according to Capital. “We’ve also been working with the building superintendent and managers unions … to notify their members on these programs.”

Part of the city’s educational campaign is a 30-second ad on taxi TVs and local TV stations that began running last week, as well as mailers that will be sent to homes throughout the city, detailing the specifics of the Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act.

Despite efforts to teach New Yorkers about the new state law, some City Council members remain skeptical that program outreach is sufficient to warn residents about the upcoming changes. Committee chair Antonio Reynoso told Capital that he didn’t even know much about the new ban. He predicted that most would continue to leave electronics on the curb without knowing they were violating the law.

The state will not provide pick-up services for discarded electronics, but residents can take them to a number of participating businesses and charitable organizations, such as the Salvation Army. Some organizations will also arrange pick-up times to collect unwanted electronics.

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