The Lower East Side Ecology Center is opening E-Waste Warehouse on the corner of President and Nevins Streets, offering a way for locals to recycle their old electronics, starting January 31.
The new warehouse is partially due to a state law that went into effect on January 1, banning the disposal of e-waste such as computers, televisions, and other electronics, into landfills.
Electronics are known to carry harmful carcinogens and heavy metals such as lead. While these materials are contained during use, improperly disposed electronics in landfills can pollute the surrounding environment and bodies of water.
"Electronic waste makes up somewhere between two and three percent of the landfill-bound waste stream," said Caroline Kruse, Development Director of The Lower East Side Ecology Center. "But 70 percent of the heavy metals in landfills come from electronics."
Kruse also noted that the impermanence of electronics in the always improving technological world causes the constant accumulation of e-waste. Items only a few years old are considered outdated and worthless, and people are repeatedly replacing slightly older electronics for an upgrade.
"Five years ago, TVs weighed 60 pounds, now they weigh 20," said Kruse. "Yes, things are getting smaller, but we have to contend with some incredibly bulky items."
More personal electronics, such as computers, also run the risk of spreading personal information when thrown out, sold, or given away. At E-waste Warehouse, all information will be wiped off before being reused or recycled.
The center will be accepting the following items, both in working and non-working condition:
- Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes)
- Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
- Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
- Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers, etc.)
- Tablets and E-readers
- Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
- TVs, VCRs, DVRs, & DVD Players
- Digital Converter Boxes, Cable/Satellite Receivers
- Portable music players
- Audio-visual equipment
- Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
- Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)
As an additional resource, the warehouse will be repairing old electronics for resale, so that those who don't need brand new electronics can afford an older product.
"People really want to do the right thing in getting rid of their electronics," said Kruse. "There's no reason not to recycle them, they just need to be handled differently."
E-Waste Warehouse is located at 469 President Street. Starting January 31, Drop-off hours are: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 12 - 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. On February 4, the Warehouse will be hosting a community reception from 12 to 4 p.m.