Student Connections

Safe and Simple Recycling of Electronics

By Sadie Ross, director of environmental sustainability, Office of the President

February 22, 2012

RecyclingBringing new electronics home can be fun, but safely getting rid of the old electronic device is often a missed step in the celebration. The new New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act makes getting rid of computers, televisions, cathode ray tubes, small scale servers, computer peripherals, monitors, electronic keyboards, electronic mice, facsimile machines, document scanners and printers easy and safe.

The law puts the responsibility of safely recycling electronic equipment into the hands of the manufacturer and is overseen by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The law specifically states: “Manufacturers must provide at least one reasonably convenient method of collection within each county and within each municipality with a population of 10,000 or greater."

The following collection methods are considered reasonably convenient:

  • mail or ship-back return programs
  • collection or acceptance events conducted by the manufacturer or the manufacturer's agent or designee, including events conducted through local governments or private parties
  • fixed acceptance locations such as dedicated acceptance sites operated by the manufacturer or its agent or designee
  • agreements with local governments, retail stores, sales outlets and nonprofit organizations which have agreed to provide facilities for the collection of electronic waste
  • community collection events
  • any combination of these or other acceptance methods which effectively provide for the acceptance of electronic waste for recycling or reuse through means that are available and reasonably convenient to consumers in the state.

How does the law impact consumers?

Finding a location to recycle is easy. Businesses that recycle electronics are in a perfect position to connect manufacturers to consumers so that manufactures can meet their recycling quotas. Recyclers are teaming up with local municipalities or nonprofit organizations to offer free, one-day drop-off events or regular drop-off times at local municipal transfer stations. Advertisements of such events are often listed in community calendars or available on the transfer station’s website. Many retailers are also teaming up with recyclers to offer regular drop-off locations. To learn more about options at retailers, visit Mark Lewis’s post “Green Holidays.”

How does this impact the college?

For more information on how to recycle at the centers and units of SUNY Empire State College, visit http://www.esc.edu/environmental-sustainability-committee/greening-college/recycling-and-waste/.