Electronics take-back improves in Empire State

Electronics take-back improves in Empire State

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

A new report from the Product Stewardship Institute has found that residents of rural New York State have improved access to free e-scrap collection sites thanks to the state's Electronic Equipment Reuse and Recycling Act.

The report is based on surveys and interviews of solid waste and recycling facility managers in rural areas of New York concerning trends in electronics recycling rates and costs. According to the report, 40 percent of the managers have seen an increase in the number of electronics collected at sites in their communities since the Empire State's e-scrap law went into effect about a year and a half ago. Sixty-five percent of respondents reported decreased out-of-pocket fees for residents who were once charged fees as high as $10 per unit for participating in their local voluntary recycling program.

"These results show that, with a well-designed program supported by manufacturers, rural districts can experience nearly the same level of recycling service as their urban and suburban counterparts," said Scott Cassel, founder and chief executive officer of PSI, in a prepared statement. "Rural residents are recycling and reusing a greater number of electronics, they have more options for drop-off, and it’s costing them less than it did before the law went into effect."

New York's e-scrap law requires manufacturers to assume financial responsibility for collection and recycling of their products once consumers are done with them. Specifically, it requires them to fund and develop infrastructure for the recovery and recycling of discarded electronics across the state. Under the law, there must be at least one collection site in every county and population center of over 10,000 residents.

Earlier this year, PSI released a report on the economic and environmental impacts of the state's e-scrap law on New York's urban and suburban areas. PSI found that electronics collection and costs savings increased at a faster pace in New York’s rural areas than its non-rural areas, where voluntary e-scrap program had already been in place before the law went into effect.

However, according to the organization, collecting high volumes of e-scrap in remote areas of the state will continue to be a challenge because recycling companies are likely to lose money making long-distance trips to far-away collection sites only to pick up a small amount of material. Additionally, the report found that public awareness about the take-back program is low.

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