New York City’s total of improperly disposed electronics decreased by nearly 60 percent from 2005 to 2017, according to the city’s fourth waste characterization study.
Electronics made up 0.3 percent of New York City’s waste stream in 2017, according to the 2017 NYC Residential, School and NYCHA Waste Characterization Study.
Executives say the drop in electronics in the steam is thanks in large part to electronics recycling programs in the city designed to best serve the needs of the more than 8 million residents. These include programs such as the ecycleNYC residential collection systems, curbside pickup programs in Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn as well as citywide collection events and retail, nonprofit and city-managed drop-off programs.
The ecycleNYC and curbside pickup programs were designed as a collaboration by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and ERI, a Fresno, California-based leading recycler of e-waste and the world’s largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company and supported by leading electronics manufacturers such as LG Electronics USA and Samsung.
DSNY’s 2017 NYC Residential, School and NYCHA Waste Characterization Study provides the latest look at what New Yorkers put in their trash, recycling and organics bins. The decline in e-waste in the traditional New York waste stream was a highlight of the report.
“This study tells us that our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste are working,” says Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “The average New York City household throws away less and recycles more today than five years ago. The study also shows us that we have incredible opportunities to develop and grow programs to achieve even more. Together, we are working toward our goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.”
New York banned putting end-of-life electronics in the trash to protect landfills from the toxic materials that can be found in old televisions, computers and other electronics. Including these items in trash or recycling can result in a $100 fine.
ERI says its suite of New York City collection programs has collected more than 29 million pounds in five years and provides an opportunity for all New Yorkers to properly recycle their electronics. The ecycleNYC and curbside programs are directly serving more than 3.1 million New Yorkers at their homes.
Experts believe the convenience of such programs by DSNY, ERI and their partnering manufacturers opened the door to the city’s current success in the e-waste category.
“We are honored to be part of the constructive collaboration and historic and successful partnership with the great city of New York and the sustainably minded manufacturers who helped to make the program possible,” John Shegerian, chairman and CEO of ERI, says. “It is particularly rewarding to be able to offer NYC residents a suite of programs, such as ecycleNYC and the curbside pickup program, which are advancements that make responsible, effective recycling of electronic waste convenient for millions. To have played such a distinct role in diverting 60 percent more e-waste away from the trash compared to only a couple years ago is a humbling and rewarding experience.”
Mark Newton, head of environmental, regulatory affairs and sustainability at Samsung Electronics America, says, “At Samsung, we understand the positive impact responsible recycling has for our environment, and our partnership with ERI highlights our commitment to educating consumers on how to safely manage their electronic waste. Programs like ecycleNYC help to provide consumers with a free and convenient option to dispose of unwanted electronics in an environmentally responsible way.”
John I. Taylor, senior vice president, public affairs and sustainability for LG Electronics USA, adds, “Environmental sustainability is a core business principle at LG, and responsible electronics recycling is a key pillar of our programs in the United States. We’re proud of our role in significantly reducing e-waste in landfills, thanks to this kind of public-private partnership in cooperation with New York and leading certified recyclers like ERI.”
Buildings, management companies or residents that want to learn more about electronics recycling in New York City can visit www.nyc.gov/ecycle.