We’re constantly upgrading our technology. The old computers can’t run new programs, have giant security holes and simply feel slower. As bigger, faster, cooler smartphones and TVs are released, we “gotta” have them. Every year there are new and better computers. As old versions are no longer supported, upgrading is necessary both to remain competitive and, especially now, for data to remain secure. Similar rapid changes are taking place in all forms of technology.
As we upgrade, we’re throwing out electronics at a staggering pace. In 2009, 2.37 tons of electronics was discarded. The world’s e-waste is expected to grow 33% between 2013 and 2017. Recyclable materials are filling up our landfills and taking up room needed for non-recyclable products. Moreover, when computers are discarded in improperly managed landfills, toxic metals like lead, cadmium and mercury can leach into the ground and water causing a serious threat to the environment. It also costs more to produce new than to reuse old materials.
Fortunately, recycling of electronics is on the rise. Recycling e-waste is not only good for the environment, but it’s also the law in 25 states. In New York, since 2011, business and institutions are required by law to recycle computer equipment, unless it is donated or sold for reuse. To facilitate the statewide goal of recycling or reuse for all electronics waste, the NY State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act law requires “manufacturers of covered electronic equipment to establish a convenient system for the collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of discarded electronic waste.” In other words, manufacturers must make it easy for businesses to recycle. The law also phases in the disposal ban to cover individuals and households effective January 1, 2015. That means you, your family, and your business!
What electronic waste is covered by the law?
- Computers (including tablets and e-readers)
- Televisions and CRTs
- Small Scale Servers
- Computer Peripherals (monitors, keyboards, mice, fax machines, scanners, and printers)
- TV Peripherals (VCRs, DVD players & recorders, Digital Converter Boxes, Cable or Satellite Receivers, and Video Game Consoles)
- Portable Devices (Digital Music Players)
Saturday, November 15, 2014, was America Recycles Day. ARD was started in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition to educate people about the benefits of recycling. This event, which is celebrated every year on November 15, is a day for going green. While ARD has passed, the requirement to recycle and the environmental benefits continue. Look for a recycling program or facility near you and dump your junk.
There are several electronics take-back and trade-in programs in New York. Manufacturers must provide free and convenient collection to most NYS consumers, including free mail-back programs. This service is available but not free to businesses with >50 employees and non-profits with >75 employees. Community organizations and retailers also work with manufacturers to accept electronics, with drop-off programs at Goodwill, Salvation Army, Best Buy, and Staples. (We recommend you call these organization first before driving up to their door with a car full of junk.) NYC Department of Sanitation holds SAFE Disposal Events each spring, one in each borough. In addition, they offer ecycleNYC, an innovative program to assist residents who don’t have cars, that enables NYC apartment building with more than 10 units to sign up for a free and convenient service to pick up and recycle unwanted electronics. Nassau County, Westchester County, and Town of Huntington (Suffolk County) also offer electronics recycling programs for residents. Additionally, there are several registered electronic waste recycling facilities throughout New York State and numerous NYS electronic waste collection sites.
If you’re disposing of your computers on your own, be sure to protect your personal, business, and customer information. Your hard drive may contain passwords to websites, email accounts, credit-card numbers, financial records and other identifying information. Deleting everything and formatting does not completely erase the hard drive. You should wipe your hard drive using a special data destruction software program, or use a degausser to erase it, or physically destroy the hard drive. Think hammer!
Stemp Systems has been recycling computers and computer peripherals for our clients for several years. When we upgrade your equipment and install new technology, our techs remove your old computer equipment and we dispose of it properly. Recycling electronics is the proper way to dispose of them, to preserve our environment and keep toxic waste out of our landfills and rivers. As of January 1, 2015 it will be the law in New York for everyone to recycle e-waste. Now it’s your turn to join in. America recycles… do you?