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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 31, 2011

Starting April 1
A new law charges manufacturers for recycling electronics

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland transfer station will no longer charge residents to recycle electronics.

A state law — the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act — will take effect April 1, and it requires a “convenient system for collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of electronic waste.”

Transfer stations across the state can register as official collection sites for recycling electronic equipment, and Greg Weir, superintendent at the Guilderland transfer station, said it was an obvious choice for the town.

Weir, who became superintendent in September, said the station collects about 425 tons of recyclables each year, which brings in revenue, in addition to 1,634 tons of demolition material and 1,075 tons of household garbage. The town has about 35,000 residents.

The new law makes manufacturers responsible for the recycling costs of their equipment. Companies — such as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, and RCA — will be required to recycle the same amount of material, per pound, that they sell each year in New York State.

The town used to participate in one “Electronic Recycling Day” each year, when residents could drop items off at the transfer station for a fee of $25. The superintendent would take the items and drive them to a recycling and recovery center, which charged $21.50 per item, resulting in a profit of $3.50 for the transfer station.

“The $3.50 was just enough to balance out the cost of transportation and labor,” said Weir, who used to have the items transported to Troy. Now, a company called Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery, based in Rochester, will pick up electronic items from the transfer station free of charge.

Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery will break down the products into pieces that can be reused. It processes, sorts, and consolidates items in order to maximize value and minimize disposal of electronics in landfills.

Electronic manufacturers will be responsible for contracting with companies like Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery to pay for the cost of recycling their required amount of materials.

“The goal of the law is to make the manufacturers more aware of the materials they use, and sort of force them to use more environmentally friendly or recycled materials. If they don’t, they have to pay,” said Weir. It benefits the Guilderland transfer station because electronics have always been collected there, but now residents will not have to pay.

“It’s just another service we can provide. They always say you can’t get something for nothing — well, now you can,” Weir said. Included on the list of recyclable items are computers, televisions, fax machines, printers, cable or satellite receivers, and electronic or video game consoles.  Residents can drop off the items any time the transfer station is open.

“I’ve been telling people who ask that they can drop things off and pay the $25 fee, or wait until April 1, so I expect we’ll be inundated with electronics in April,” said Weir.

According to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the new law will eventually prohibit the disposal of electronic waste in the state by aall consumers; beginning Jan. 1, 2012 for business and municipalities, and Jan. 1, 2015 for individuals and households.

Residents will still be charged the same annual fee for garbage drop-off, and demolition materials and metals are charged by weight. Weir said the lack of fee collected for electronic recyclables will not affect the annual transfer station budget, which is based on the salaries of eight employees, and the history of utilities and maintenance.

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