Take a look around your house and count the number of unwanted computer monitors, keyboards, printers and old TVs collecting dust, taking up space. If you're like many Westchester residents, the items are too many to count. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) – the primary component in computer monitors and televisions – contain lead that can potentially contaminate land, air and water resources. For this reason, TVs and computer monitors should not be thrown out with the trash. If you've finally made up your mind to get rid of this e-waste, here in Westchester this can be done easily and in an environmentally sound way.
Examples of items you should donate for reuse or recycle include:
Donating used electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and maximizes the energy and resources that went into making the products. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, nonprofit organizations, and lower-income families to obtain electronics that they otherwise could not afford. Visit Treasure Hunt or Goodwill to learn how to donate used computer equipment, televisions and other electronics. You may also be able to sell newer working electronics and cell phones. When purchasing new equipment, schools or businesses may wish to negotiate removal and recycling of old equipment with vendors.
Goodwill – Baldwin Place
80 Route 6
Baldwin Place, NY 10505
Goodwill – Croton-on-Hudson
440 South Riverside Avenue
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520
Goodwill Donation Express – Eastchester
19 Mill Road
Eastchester, NY 10709
Note: This location accepts items. It is not a retail outlet.
Goodwill – Elmsford
380 North Saw Mill River Rd.
Elmsford, NY 10523
Goodwill – New Rochelle
8 Joyce Road
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Many electronics retail centers and most manufacturers also offer take-back programs to their customers. For instance, electronics are accepted for recycling at all Best Buy stores throughout the county, in most cases free of charge. You can learn more about each manufacturer’s plan through information provided by the New York State Department of Conservation or by visiting the manufacturer’s website.
Many municipalities offer curbside pickup or ongoing drop off programs to their residents. Contact your local Sanitation Department for more details. You can also bring your e-waste to the Household Material Recovery Facility. You can also refer to the How to Dispose and Recycle Special Household Waste brochure for guidelines on e-waste recycling, among other household items that require special handling.
Non-residential organizations such as local businesses, schools and institutions should use the Electronics Recycling Markets list of known CRT recyclers or contact the county's Recycling HelpLine at (914) 813-5425 for further information.
|Local Recycling Sites for Residents:|
E-waste is one of the fastest growing components of solid waste in the United States. It’s no wonder, considering the speed with which these electronic products are replaced with newer, faster, sleeker versions:
In 1998, the National Safety Council Study estimated about 20 million computers became obsolete in one year. Now that number has more than doubled according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) most recent estimates. As technology develops, even more products will be considered e-waste, as circuit boards are added to conventional household appliances.
What concerns solid waste managers is not just the growth in volume and bulkiness of these items – it’s the toxicity of their components. Old TVs can contain up to seven pounds of lead. Besides lead, other contaminants such as mercury, nickel and cadmium can find their way into the water and food supply due to incineration or landfill operations. In 2009, the EPA estimated that up to 75 percent of electronic items are discarded as regular household waste.
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that 50 to 80 percent of discarded electronics are exported to developing countries, such as China, where the cost of labor is lower in the absence of environmental legislation or workplace safety standards. Some academic research suggests that the cycle continues, with non-biodegradable toxins returning to the United States in manufactured goods and food products. Another key concern of exporting e-waste is increasing rates of identity theft, from information recovered from hard drives. “The Electronic Wasteland” from CBS’s 60 Minutes, is an interesting news feature on the consequences of improperly handled electronic exports.
Westchester County takes these concerns very seriously: all materials collected by the county are delivered to a licensed electronic waste dismantler that removes and erases information on data storage devices, dismantles all components, and sells materials directly to electronics manufacturers domestically and abroad. In 2010, the county collected 1,818 tons of electronics from residents, which would otherwise have been incinerated.