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As people seek sustainable alternatives to leaving their unwanted electronic products on their shelves or in the trash, the popularity of electronic waste recycling is building. It is important to prevent electronic waste from entering landfills because it contains metals such as lead and mercury that could potentially damage water and soil quality and impose harmful effects on human health.

However, some consumers are experiencing difficulties finding a convenient venue to recycle their e-waste. Although many small recycling programs exist, the US doesn’t have a comprehensive, easy way for people to recycle e-waste, especially large items such as televisions and computers that are expensive to ship.

New York’s approach to electronic waste recycling is noteworthy. On May 28, 2010, Govenor Paterson signed the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act. The law “requires manufacturers to provide free and convenient recycling of electronic waste to most consumers in the state.” Beginning January 1, 2015, disposal of electronic items in landfills will be prohibited.

New York’s e-waste law increases the efficiency and accessibility of electronic waste recycling, giving consumers the opportunity to recycle their products responsibly and conveniently. It also raises the awareness about the importance of electronic waste recycling, asking consumers to be more conscious of how they manage their electronic waste. It also specifies the manufacturers’ role in the collection and recycling process, emphasizing the collective effort of consumers and manufacturers in protecting the environment.

Many consumers might want to recycle their old electronics, but they often do not have the resources to do so. New York’s reinforcement of electronic waste recycling not only allows consumers to properly manage their electronic products, but also contributes to the effort of protecting the environment and public health.

By Ying Yu Chen

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