New York to Mandate E-Waste Recycling

Governor Paterson has signed legislation requiring producers of electronic waste to collect and recycle their products, making New York the 23rd state to pass an e-waste recycling law. The new law, effective April 1st 2011, will require manufacturers to recycle amounts proportional to what they produce, based on a three-year sales average. Producers will also be required to report on their progress annually to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Although New York has been slow to adopt an e-waste law, the new legislation was built on successes of the 22 other states already on board. Kate Sindig of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a current Overbrook grantee the Environment Program has supported for work on e-waste legislation, called the new law "arguably the most progressive electronics recycling law in the country." Read Kate's post on the NRDC staff blog here.

Products covered under the law include TVs, computers, keyboards, cables, mice and printers. Taxpayers and municipalities will not only be relieved of the financial burden of collecting and recycling electronics, but amounts of toxic chemicals and metals that leach into waterways when electronics are trashed will also be reduced. Putting the end-of-life responsibility back on producers is also expected to clean up the materials they use to make the electronics in the first place. And starting January 1, 2015, it will be illegal for consumers in New York to throw electronics in landfills.

Many manufacturers would like to see a federal law as opposed to a patchwork of rules governing e-waste in different states. But as more states sign on, momentum will surely build toward more comprehensive legislation. With 23 states in, we're almost halfway there!