New plan for NJ e-waste

Circuit boards ready for processing abroad. (Basel Action Network photo)

Okay, Jersey folks. If you got a new computer or TV or electronic whatever for a holiday present and were planning to put the old one out with the trash: Forget it.

The state's new e-waste law has gone into effect. It bans landfilling and encourages recycling. 

I wrote an article about the new plan a few weeks ago.  (By the way, as the article notes, Pennsylvania recently passed similar legislation.)

For more information about e-waste and the problems association with improper disposal, click here for the Basel Action Network site.

Meanwhile, NJ DEP commissioner Bob Martin has put out a reminder and a press release:

Manufacturers of these devices will now be funding the collection of e-waste so that it is free for consumers. Many residents will have to take these items to a drop-off point, such as a county or municipal solid waste collection center or a participating electronics retail store, the DEP reports. Some municipalities already conduct special curbside pickup programs for recycling of e-waste and are expected to continue doing this.

All 21 counties and many municipalities already have e-waste recycling programs in place. These include special collection events and drop-off points. Best Buy stores and community-based service programs, most notably Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army, also accept these materials, according to the DEP.

Residents should contact their county solid waste agency or municipal recycling coordinator for e-waste recycling options currently available in their communities. These options will continue to grow in the coming year. The DEP also is compiling a resource list to assist residents in finding collection points. A working draft of the list is available at

"We still have some work to do," Martin said. "Over the next several months, the Electronic Waste Management Act will help us fill in gaps to ensure that all covered waste is recycled and that everyone has convenient options. Equally important, this law raises public awareness about the importance of recycling these materials."

Electronic waste makes up about two percent of the solid waste disposed in New Jersey. Because of the high consumer demand for new technologies, electronic waste is also growing two to three times faster than any other component of the solid waste stream, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. TVs, computers and computer monitors contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other toxins. Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRTs, in particular contain large amounts of lead that is used to shield consumers from radiation.

The DEP estimates that the program will prevent 50 million pounds of electronic waste from being sent to solid waste facilities during its first year. The law also contains strict provisions to ensure that, once collected, the materials are recycled properly and in accordance with state and federal laws. Manufacturers must ensure that these devices are not exported for disposal in a manner that poses a risk to public health or the environment.

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.