This holiday season, many people will be receiving new electronic gadgets. But tossing out the old gear isn’t an option. A law meant to keep toxic contaminants caused by burning electronics out of landfills seems to be working. The measure, enacted in New Jersey last January, bans curbside disposal of electronics like computers and televisions. Officials have said since the law went into effect, e-recycling has increased 25 percent.
When computers are taken to an e-waste recycling facility, almost all of the components are recycled. Eighteen are removed and separated for reuse, including the batteries which must be removed prior to incineration because they can be harmful to the environment. Electronics make up 2 percent of the waste stream in New Jersey, with e-waste growing two to three times faster than any other material residents discard. Environmental officials said they wanted to prevent 50 million pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills the first year of the program. As of September, 27 million pounds of electronics have been recycled, compared to 8 million pounds two years ago. NJToday’s environmental reporter Ed Rodgers files this report.
Visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection website to learn more about NJ E-Cycle