Due to ongoing technological advancements and the constant evolution of newer, sleeker products, many electronics become obsolete within a very short period of time. While these new, more advanced technologies make our lives undoubtedly easier, we are faced with a very important challenge: How do we dispose of our older products in order to make way for our new electronic items?
Our large surplus of unwanted electronic devices, or “e-waste,” often contains potentially hazardous toxins, making them unfit for landfills. E-waste includes items such as computers, televisions, small-scale servers and computer parts such as monitors and electronic keyboards, mice, scanners and printers (those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs.). E-waste also includes smaller electronic equipment such as VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, cable or satellite receivers and electronic or video-game consoles. Even the most ordinary devices – such as our televisions and computer circuit boards – often contain toxic substances such as lead. Cadmium, nickel, zinc and brominated flame-retardant materials, which are all found in common electronic devices, can also pose dangers to our environment.
It is critical to properly dispose of these items so their hazardous leftovers do not find their way into our community’s food or water supplies. In 2010, I supported the Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act, which makes getting rid of unwanted electronic equipment a lot easier and safer (Ch. 99 of 2010). There are three stages of the act, two of which have already gone into effect. Last April, manufacturers were required to set up a free and convenient system for the collection, handling and recycling or reuse of certain e-waste. Starting this month, businesses and municipalities were no longer allowed to dispose of e-waste in landfills, and on Jan. 1, 2015, individuals and households must adhere to the same disposal rules.
These steps make it clear: We can no longer fill our landfills with old, toxic electronics. Our health and the sustainability of our environment is simply too important. I am committed to keeping Western New York and the rest of the state as green as it can be. By responsibly recycling e-waste, we can take a positive step in accomplishing this goal.
The drop-off location for electronic waste in Erie County is:
- Sunnking Associates, LLC
2 Benzel Ct.
Lancaster, NY 14086
For more information, feel free to visit www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/65583.html, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s website. You can also contact my office at 716-686-0080 concerning this or any other important community issue.