New State Funding for E-Waste Recycling Helps Keep Programs Afloat

But Long Term Solution Still Needed

Albany, NY – Next month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) will accept grant applications from local governments that are paying for electronics recycling services to help preserve those programs and ensure New Yorkers can comply with the state’s electronics disposal ban. The legislature allocated $3 million from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund for this program, which is intended to make up for shortcomings in the electronics recycling program.

“We appreciate the Legislature’s support for local e-scrap programs,” said Andrew Radin, director of recycling for the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Authority and chair of the New York Product Stewardship Council (NYPSC). “Unfortunately, this funding is only a short-term solution to a long-term problem. To get effective electronics recycling in New York we need DEC to issue strong regulations, and the Legislature needs to amend the law to fix some critical flaws that have become evident through implementation.”

A 2010 state law requires manufacturers of certain electronic equipment, including TVs, computer monitors, and printers, to provide New Yorkers with free and convenient collection and recycling for these products, which are no longer allowed in the trash. The law has succeeded in substantially increasing electronics recycling in the state – diverting more than 400 million pounds of e-waste so far—and has reduced costs to local governments. However, manufacturer funding has fallen short of the need, and local programs have been forced to either shut down or pay for recycling.

“Many state e-waste programs are struggling to maintain strong collection networks, as manufacturer support has not kept pace with the increasing costs of recycling and the increasing volumes of materials collected,” said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of the Product Stewardship Institute. “Local governments are facing unforeseen costs and difficult choices. The grants will help offset some of those costs, but they won’t solve the root problem.”

“The law requires DEC to issue regulations to govern the program,” said Dawn Timm, director of Niagara County Environmental/Solid Waste Management and vice chair of NYPSC. “Strong regulations would improve the program by making it clear to manufacturers that the law requires them to operate fully funded, effective programs all year long.”

“Amendments to the law are also critical,” added Radin. “Only the legislature can fix some key provisions of the law that would ensure that all New Yorkers have year-round access to free and convenient collection of electronics for recycling.”

Media Contacts:

Andrew Radin
NY Product Stewardship Council
(315) 453-2866

Scott Cassel
Product Stewardship Institute
(617) 236-4822