TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin reminded residents that televisions, computers, electronic tablets, e-book readers, and monitors that have been replaced by new electronic holiday gifts cannot be thrown out with the trash but must be taken to designated recycling collection points as required by state law.
“Recycling of e-waste is taking hold across the state, and is steadily becoming routine,” Martin said. “These devices can no longer be placed out on the curb. They must be taken to specially designated e-waste recycling drop-off points conveniently located throughout our municipalities and counties or to retailers that accept these materials.”
Since taking effect on Jan. 1, 2011, the state’s Electronic Waste Management Act has dramatically increased the amount of e-waste that is recycled in the state, keeping potentially hazardous materials out of landfills and incinerators. Through the third quarter of 2012, more than 62 million pounds of e-waste have been diverted from the regular waste stream.
The law covers televisions and all personal or portable computers – including desktop, notebook and laptop computers, as well as computer monitors. Manufacturers of these devices now fund the collection of e-waste so that it is free for consumers.
The law does not require recycling of cell phones, DVD players, VCRs, game consoles, or other electronic devices, although retailers and service organizations provide drop-off opportunities for recycling of these items.
Discarded TVs, computers and computer monitors contain lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, zinc, brominated flame retardants, and other potentially hazardous materials, while Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRTs, contain large amounts of lead that is used to shield consumers from radiation.
Electronic waste makes up 2 percent of the solid waste disposed in New Jersey. But as a result of consumer demand for new technologies, and subsequent disposal of old devices, e-waste is growing faster than any other component of the solid waste stream.
Devices covered by the law must be taken to a drop-off point, such as a county or municipal collection center or a participating electronics retail store. Most municipal and county drop-off points require proof of residency.
Many electronics retailers, including Best Buy and Staples, and community-based service programs, most notably Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army, also accept these materials.
“The DEP is constantly working to improve the public’s understanding of proper disposal of e-waste,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Management Jane Kozinksi. “Whether you’ve received a new television, iPad, or desktop computer or gave one as a gift, be sure to spread the word on proper disposal of old electronics to family and friends.’’
Residents should contact their county solid waste agency or municipal recycling coordinator for e-waste recycling options currently available in their cities and towns.
For more information on New Jersey’s E-Cycle program, including a list of e-waste recycling locations statewide, a connection to all 21 county recycling web sites, and information for consumers on “front door’’ pickup service to deal with extra heavy televisions or for people with special needs, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/ewaste/index.html