Weekly Feature

2015-01-08 / Local News

New law governs electronic waste disposal

A new law making it illegal to put electronic waste in the trash or at the curb with regular trash went into effect Jan. 1 in New York State in an effort to both eliminate e-waste entering landfills and also boost recycling of the materials contained in electronic equipment.

The new law includes common electronic gear such as computers and their peripheral equipment, televisions, DVD players, and smaller portable electronic devices.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the New Year brings with it new laws along with a new awareness of citizen responsibilities to the environment and to future generations.

“We must make the effort to protect both by being responsible stewards of our world today. Electronic devices are indispensable to our lives, but are dangerous when carelessly disposed of,” Poloncarz said. “Recycling electronics and eliminating e-waste are steps we must take today toward building a cleaner Erie County in the future. All residents should be aware of the law and make sure they are properly recycling their electronics.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, e-waste is the fastest-growing municipal waste stream in the country. A large part of what is called “e-waste” is not actually waste but rather electronic equipment or parts that can be recycled for materials or marketed for reuse.

Recent cost increases related to e-waste disposal, particularly for items such as TVs and non flat-screen computer monitors, have also put pressure on municipal disposal budgets.

The New York State e-waste law, one of the most comprehensive in the country, also regulates the disposal and recycling of cellphones, rechargeable batteries, and electronics for commercial entities.

Erie County has been working with local municipalities, represented by the area’s two solid waste boards, to increase the availability of e-waste recycling sites.

More information on what items are accepted by local municipalities can be found at the county’s website, www2.erie.gov, while other information on local recycling opportunities can be found by calling 858-4805.

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