electronics recycling

You do have to wonder whether some of the companies claiming to be “green” are really that green?  (But I guess ‘greenwashing is really an other topic)  Elizabeth Royte writes in Garbage Land that while following her trash streams and despite wanting to do the right thing and making the extra effort to properly recycle,  she couldn’t be sure that some items still didn’t just end up in landfill or that toxic e-waste wasn’t bundled and sold overseas to countries with lax environmental regulations and a population desperate for jobs.

I came across this place on Sunday for electronic recycling—Mr. Rubbish – on 9th St and Smith in Brooklyn.

While it sounds good  —Per Scholas is a not-for-profit helping technologically underserved neighborhoods like the South Bronx — there is nothing on either Mr. Rubbish or the Per Scholas website saying where/how the electronics are recycled beyond saying that it is done in an ‘environmentally compliant manner’. That doesn’t mean they are not sold and shipped overseas, unlike the 4th Bin that Cindy posted about, which clearly states exactly how and where any toxic materials are recycled.

“With the exception of rechargeable batteries, it is legal for nyc residents to discard electronics in the trash until the year 2015. Recycling electronics, such as cell phones, televisions, and computers (along with rechargeable batteries found in many of these items), keeps potentially harmful materials out of the waste stream and the environment.”  That’s going to be an awful lot of e-waste over the next few years.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/stuff/harmful_hh_prod_electronics.shtml

So I was thinking last weekend as I was taking all sorts of recycling away by bike (compost and textiles to the green markets, paint to the DSNY drop-off) and wondering how I could carry all the electronics in the basket to a drop-off)  that it would be great if someone came by with a cart  (or something non-polluting?) in the neighborhoods, with the ‘bring out yer metal, bring out yer tvs” approach of rag and scrap collectors of the past. Maybe more people would actually recycle their electronics and appliances if it were easier (without a car, many of the recycling places are hard to get to) and it didn’t cost anything?

jenny

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4 Comments»

  Victoria wrote @

I agree, more people would recycle electronics if it were more convenient. I came across this interesting article on electronic drop offs and where to take your obsolete electronics: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/responsible-recycling-my-e-waste-odyssey/

  jennykane324 wrote @

Vicky, thanks for posting that — and a really interesting stream of reader responses also — I seem to have an abundance of electronics that must go somewhere before I move!

  cindypound wrote @

the idea behind the 4th bin was originally that a new system for formally managing the ewaste stream would be introduced…a 4th bin into which you could just put your old electronics and they would be recycled/re-purposed properly…

tekserve offers collection events around the city every few months…you can also contact the lower east side ecology center for more info…

e-stewards recycling is a certification agency for e-waste recycling…so you’d want to make sure that whatever service you use is e-stewards compliant…http://e-stewards.org/

lastly, 4th bin actually picks up residential e-waste…check their web site again for more info!

  jennykane324 wrote @

yes, the 4th bin sounds great but they do charge per item I think.
i’ve missed a few of the city’s free e-recycling events (and the new schools winter collection) but will wait for the next one and will box up all those electronics for the move to brooklyn!


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