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Photo via Flickr/edenpictures
Photo via Flickr/edenpictures

Two local lawmakers are pushing the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to expand its e-waste pickup program to neighborhoods including Bayside, Whitestone and Douglaston.

The e-waste program, which began on Staten Island in October 2016, allows residents to request through the DSNY website a scheduled pickup of their unwanted electronics — which can no longer be disposed of at the curbside under a new statewide recycling law. Now, Councilman Paul Vallone and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein are asking DSNY to bring the pilot program to northeast Queens.

In a March 23 letter addressed to DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, the lawmakers pointed out that many of the residents in the area are seniors who physically cannot transport the heavy hardware to e-waste recycling events or DSNY drop-off locations throughout the boroughs.

“As you are aware, we have a large elderly population in our districts, including many that live in one- and two-family homes,” the letter stated. “Our constituents have large television sets and other devices that they need to dispose of, but they are unable to do so, since dropping the electronics off in College Point or taking them to events at Queens Botanical Garden is not feasible.”

Electronics collected through DSNY’s pilot program in Staten Island include computers, televisions, keyboards, VCRs, DVD players and fax machines. Effective April 1, 2015, city residents can be fined $100 for placing such electronics at the curb for disposal.

“This pilot program is the way that e-waste disposal should be handled,” Vallone said. “While it’s feasible for some, it’s unfair to expect everyone, especially seniors, to carry electronics which can sometimes weigh up to hundreds of pounds to a location miles from their home.”

“[DSNY’s] E-Waste Pilot Program, currently underway in Staten Island, allows residents to schedule specific pickup times for e-waste disposal,” Braunstein said. “This pilot program is a great start to solving e-waste disposal issues in New York City, and I join with Council member Vallone in asking that it be expanded to northeast Queens as soon as possible.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the pilot program will become permanent and expand to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens over the course of the next three years. The expansion will start in North Brooklyn. The mayor did not specify where or when the program would launch in Queens.

“Since the e-waste pilot on Staten Island was such a success, we’re expanding it to a lot more New Yorkers.” de Blasio said. “It’s so important to our zero waste goals to recycle everything we can, including electronics — but we also need to make it easier for our residents to do so, and that’s what this program is all about.”

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