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Know the Law: TVs and Other Electronics Must Be Recycled

State’s year-old Electronic Waste Management Act requires residents to properly recycle electronics.

Got a new TV, laptop or other electronic device as a holiday gift?

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is reminding residents not to toss old electronics in the trash.

The state’s year-old Electronic Waste Management Act requires residents to properly recycle e-waste.

The NJ DEP estimates New Jerseyans generated 40 million pounds of recycled e-waste last year, which is a 500% increase over the approximately 8 million pounds collected in 2010—and the number is only expected to go up.

"This program has been a great initial success in helping to clean up our state, to ensure these old TVs and computers do not end up in landfills or incinerators,'' NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin stated in a release.

The goal is to keep substances which are harmful to humans and the environment out of the waste stream. Televisions, computers and computer monitors contain lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, zinc, brominated flame retardants, and other materials. While Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRTs, contain large amounts of lead that is used to shield consumers from radiation.

The Electronic Waste Management Act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2011, bans disposal of televisions and all personal or portable computers—including desktop, notebook and laptop computers, as well as computer monitors—in the regular waste stream. Manufacturers of these devices now fund the collection of e-waste so that it is free for consumers.

Instead of putting e-waste items in the trash, Essex County residents have a number of options:

  • Hold on to their e-waste and bring to Essex County’s Computer and Electronics Recycling Days, which are held each spring and fall at the Essex County Fleet Maintenance Garage in Cedar Grove.
  • Contact New Jersey Electronics Disposal & Recycling Center at 732-469-9774 and arrange for the collection and disposal of electronics listed here.
  • Bring items to Best Buy stores statewide which accept e-waste.
  • Or bring e-waste to community-based service programs, such as Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army, which also accept these materials.

It's important to note that the Electronic Waste Management Act does not cover cell phones, DVD players, VCRs, game consoles, or other electronic devices, although some retailers and service organizations provide opportunities for recycling these items.

For more information, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/ewaste/index.html

bill wolfe January 12, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Is it possible to write a story based on your own knowledge? Why do reporters simply regurgitate DEP press releases?
Thomas A. Blasi January 12, 2012 at 08:34 PM
What a laugh! Here at the Jersey shore not a day goes by when one does not see a discarded TV, computer monitor or some other electronic components lying on the residents curb; Real class. The important thing, the status symbol here is to have a fine trimmed lawn & expensive shrubberies.
Don January 13, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Many companies that "recycle" computers do it by selling the parts. Which are all interchangeable. The point that I am trying to make is that computers less than ten years old - or in some cases even more, should be used for something, not thrown away. And there are literally millions of things they can be used for. Old computers are rarely actually broken. They get a new lease on life simply by installing a modern Linux distro instead of Windows bloatware. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=learning%20linux
John Fonseca January 13, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Many organizations engage disposal/recycling companies which can provide itemized certification that the retired assets have been processed according to government guidelines. All computer parts/components are not interchangeable. Very few components in a computer which is of the age that a regular person or a small business would get rid of would be compatible with a computer that was manufactured within the last couple of years. This would include RAM, hard drives, expansion cards, video cards, and power supplies. On top of that, the mass produced PC that a normal person would buy (Dell, HP, Yoyodyne, etc) frequently has proprietary parts designed to fit the case design of the particular model. Things such as power supplies, risers, and half height expansion cards would fall under this catagory. The "if your computer is old run linux" thing is something I've always heard more as advice than seen in use. A distribution that someone with little or no unix experience such as Ubuntu isn't exactly free of bloat either. The stuff that makes it user friendly and packed with features is also what makes it heavy. I started off as a unix admin and I never ran Linux as a desktop OS. Solaris on Sun hardware yes, linux on a machine configured as a router/firewall yes, on the desktop, no. I liked when you said "distro" and "bloatware". Those are funny words.

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