It's the Environment, Stupid.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Garbage day means more e-waste

It's garbage day on my street today and that usually means unwanted electronics and other miscellaneous items are also thrown out with the trash.

Stopping just short of criticising my neighbors for leaving their e-waste for the landfills, I wondered what I would do with my TV once it failed to work or I needed to get rid of it for whatever reason.

If my unwanted TV was working I could put an ad on craigslist to see if there were any takers - after all that's how I found my small, tv/vcr combo last year. I went all the way up to Columbia to retrieve it, and lugged it back to Brooklyn via subway (luckily no train transfers.)

But what if my unwanted TV wasn't working? The easy thing to do would be to put it on the street. I don't have a car in NY, so it would be difficult taking it to a collection facility (which are in outlying areas of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.) I could take a cab or find someone with a car - but again, it would be cheaper and easier to put it on the street.

While NYC WasteLe$$ is making great efforts towards recycling in the boroughs, their electronics recycling events are few and far between (the next one in Manhattan is April 23 in Union Square). There isn't an easy answer to reducing the amount of e-waste in landfills - but there is an opportunity to do more. Perhaps with a little legislation that will force some of the burden back to manufacturers, and a little creative thinking on the part of waste management services we might be able to retrieve more e-waste from the sidewalks.

Some of my previous posts on e-waste.
Mobile recycling
Toshiba Canada
E-waste legislation