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E-waste

Staring Oct. 1, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will expand its electronic waste recycling pickup service to include western Queens.

Services will also expand to southern Brooklyn. Although DSNY has electronic waste drop-off sites in all five of the city’s boroughs, pick up service is only currently offered on Staten Island and in northern Brooklyn.

One of the fastest growing environmental problems of the last decade has been electronic waste, as the number electronics pumped into the market increases rapidly. Many of the devices eventually piling up in landfills contain small amounts of toxic material which most disposal systems and landfills are not designed to handle. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled every year in the United States.

Many electronics also contain small amounts of gold, platinum, copper, titanium, silver and other precious raw materials that are lost if thrown into traditional landfills. According to reporting conducted by the Atlantic, one ton of electronic waste could yield 200 grams of gold.

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In New York City, efforts to manage electronic waste began with under Mayor Bloomberg. Now DSNY is taking further steps to combat the city’s e-waste problem and protect the environment.

If residents wish to have DSNY pick up old electronics they must first call to make an appointment by either calling 311 or going to the city’s website. Pick up will happen from Monday through Friday with the exception of city holidays.  All waste must be put on the curb after 4 p.m. the night before the scheduled pickup since DSNY employees will not ring doorbells nor will they come inside of homes. DSNY recommends that those who wish to dispose of their electronics erase all passwords and personal information from them before doing so.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), what constitutes as electronic waste are products such as televisions, monitors, computers, audio and stereo equipment, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras, telephones, fax and copying machines, cellular phones, wireless devices and video game consoles.

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