As flashier, newer models come out, “old” computers, iPods and cellphones are steadily piling up in many a city landfill. This month, New York City is trying to become the first in the nation to really do something about it.
The New York City Council passed legislation Feb. 13 that would create a city-wide electronics recycling program for the 25,000 tons of eWaste the city trashes every year. The law requires electronics manufacturers to collect their own products when residents are ready to throw them out. This could be through curbside collection, drop-offs or mail-in programs. It’s expected that such a measure will give heavy incentive for manufacturers to create products that are easier to recycle.
However, according to the Associated Press, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is threatening to overturn the bill, saying it puts too much burden on manufacturers.
Currently, much of New York City’s electronic waste is burned in a Newark, N.J., incinerator, a polluting solution to a growing problem. Along with a number of environmental groups, Apple and GE supported the measure, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
If enacted, the city’s department of sanitation would no longer accept electronics as part of its collection beginning in July 2010. It could fine manufacturers that don’t submit or implement plans for electronic waste recovery. By 2012, manufacturers would be required to take back 25 percent of their current sales for recycling or reuse. By 2018, that number is to be 65 percent.