By Rebecca Henely
Loading up cars, vans and in one instance a bulldozer, residents of Flushing and beyond took their broken TVs, VCRs and computers to the Queens Botanical Gardens Sunday for its third annual E-Waste event.
“This is good,” said Flushing resident Choy Yap, who brought a huge TV with a hole in it and planned to go back home for a computer. “Nobody’ll pick it up anymore. That’s really a problem.”
The event was held in the parking lot of the gardens, at 43-50 Main St. in Flushing, and organized by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Christine Datz-Romero, executive director of the center, said the organization has been holding e-waste collections every season for 10 years, and that it tries to hold one after the holiday season when many people are interested in getting rid of their outdated electronics.
“We always feel like after the holidays people are getting new things,” she said.
Datz-Romero said the center holds 10 electronic waste collection events in the post-holiday season throughout all boroughs except Staten Island. The Queens Botanical Gardens collection was the only one held in the borough.
“We haul tons, tons of electronic waste to be disposed of properly,” said Regina Forlenza, the visitor services coordinator for Queens Botanical Gardens.
Datz-Romero said the Queens drop-off is one of its most popular events, with multiple truckloads being hauled away to the Mt. Vernon-based e-recycling organization WeRecycle! At WeRecycle!, the electronics are shredded into component parts that are then separately recycled. Hazardous materials are also removed.
Datz-Romero said disposing of electronics properly is crucial for the environment.
“The toxic material can leech out of landfills and pollute our water and our air,” she said.
Queens residents dropped off everything from printers and laptops to cellphones and surge protectors. Forlenza said the Gardens started the event at 10 a.m. but within two hours more than 200 people had turned up. In exchange, the recyclers received an admission pass for the Gardens come springtime.
St. Albans resident Michael Wilson brought multiple broken electronics to the e-waste event, including an old computer tower, a printer, an Xbox and a Guitar Hero set.
“I said, ‘Hot diggity,’” Wilson said, recalling when he first heard of the event through an e-mail. “I have things taking up space.”
Datz-Romero said Queens residents who missed the event can drop off their electronics at 469 President St. in Brooklyn Tuesdays through Saturday.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.