Recycling Consumer Electronic Waste
Disposal Ban: Beginning January 1, 2015, consumers may no longer dispose of certain types of electronic equipment in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, in the trash, or at curbside for trash pickup. Use the recycling options described below.
Two Ways to Recycle Your Electronic Waste
Option 1: Use a Manufacturer's Takeback Program
- Go to DEC's list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS, to find manufacturers, their brands electronic equipment covered by the law, and their electronic waste acceptance program websites and toll-free telephone numbers.
- Follow the specific instructions listed on the manufacturer's website or provided over the telephone. The manufacturer is required to provide information on how to recycle your equipment, free of charge.
Please note: Manufacturers are required to accept their own brand of electronic equipment for recycling. They are also required to accept one piece of electronic waste of any manufacturer's brand if offered by a consumer with the purchase of electronic equipment covered by the law of the same type by a consumer.
- Example: If you purchase a new ABC-branded television and wish to recycle your old XYZ-branded television, you may use any free and convenient acceptance method provided by either ABC's or XYZ's manufacturer electronic waste acceptance program.
Option 2: Go to an Electronic Waste Collection Site
Residents in any part of the state can download the list of registered NYS Electronic Waste Collection Sites (PDF) (548 KB), sorted by county, to find a collection site near them.
Call ahead before using an electronic waste collection site as the site listed may not accept your particular type or brand of equipment. If the collection site is not affiliated with a manufacturer's acceptance program, you may be charged a fee to recycle your equipment. If you are looking for a free and convenient way to recycle your equipment, please first follow the Manufacturer Takeback Program steps above.
Residents may also use one of these interactive maps to find a collection site near them:
- Residents of the New York City Metropolitan Area: Use this interactive map of NYC electronics drop-off locations. This video explains which electronics can be recycled and how (both links leave DEC's website).
- Residents outside of New York City: Use this interactive map of statewide electronics drop-off locations. (Link leaves DEC's website).
Electronic Equipment Covered by the Law*:
- Computers (including laptops, desktops, tablets and e-readers)
You should erase personal information before recycling.
- Cathode ray tubes
- Computer peripherals (including any cable, cord, or wiring accompanying the computer peripheral.)
- Electronic keyboards
- Electronic mice or similar pointing devices
- Facsimile machines, document scanners, and printers (only those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs.)
- Small electronic equipment (including any cable, cord, or wiring accompanying the small electronic equipment.)
- Digital video recorders (DVRs)
- Portable digital music players
- DVD players (including projectors with DVD player capabilities intended for home-use)
- Digital converter boxes
- Cable or satellite receivers (including digital media receivers)
- Electronic or video game consoles (including both handheld devices and those intended for use with a video display device)
- Small scale servers
Covered electronic equipment does not include: any motor vehicle or any part thereof; camera or video camera; portable or stationary radio; household appliances such as clothes washers, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, ovens, ranges or dishwashers; equipment that is functionally or physically part of a larger piece of equipment intended for use in an industrial, research and development or commercial setting; security or anti-terrorism equipment; monitoring and control instrument or system; thermostat; hand-held transceiver; telephone of any type; portable digital assistant or similar device; calculator; global positioning system (GPS) receiver or similar navigation device; a server other than a small-scale server; a cash register or retail self checkout system; a stand-alone storage product intended for use in industrial, research and development or commercial settings; commercial medical equipment that contains within it a cathode ray tube, a flat panel display or similar video display device, and is not separate from the larger piece of equipment; or other medical devices as that term is defined under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
* If you are unsure if your electronic device is covered by this law, please call us at (518) 402-8706 or email email@example.com.
Why Recycle Electronics?
Industry experts estimate that U.S. consumers throw away 400 million units of electronic equipment per year. Recycling electronic waste protects human health and the environment by:
- diverting thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators;
- keeping toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium from contaminating the air, water and soil; and
- conserving natural resources by allowing valuable materials to be reclaimed and reused, rather than using virgin material.
Manufacturers' Responsibilities to their Consumers:
The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act (PDF) (39 KB) requires manufacturers to provide free and convenient recycling of electronic waste to most consumers in the state. Collection opportunities include:
- fixed acceptance locations such as retail stores, sales outlets, not-for-profit organizations, or municipal facilities;
- mail or ship back return programs;
- community collection events; and
- any combination of these or other acceptance methods which are reasonably convenient to consumers in the state.
Manufacturers are not required to have a physical collection location in every community. If you have any problems trying to return electronic waste for recycling, please call us at (518) 402-8706 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Who qualifies as a consumer?
A "Consumer" is an individual, business, corporation, limited partnership, not-for-profit corporation, the state, a public corporation, public school, school district, private or parochial school or board of cooperative educational services or governmental entity located in New York State. Any entity involved in a wholesale transaction between a distributor and retailer is not a consumer.
- Who has to pay for electronic waste recycling?
Most consumers should not be charged for the recycling or reuse of electronic equipment. However, for-profit businesses with 50 or more full-time employees and not-for-profit corporations with 75 or more full-time employees may be assessed a charge for these services by manufacturers. In addition, any consumer may be charged for "premium services." "Premium services" are any services above and beyond the reasonably convenient acceptance methods defined in the Act. These include equipment and data security services, refurbishment for reuse by the consumer, and other custom services such as at-home collection (other than mail back programs), data wiping, specialized packing and preparation for collection, etc.
- Can school districts, municipalities or government entities be charged for the recycling of their electronic waste?
School districts, municipalities and government entities located in New York State may not be charged for the recycling or reuse of electronics covered by the law. They can, however, be charged for any "premium services" provided.
- What if I want to recycle electronic waste that is not covered by the law?
Locations where CEE is accepted for recycling or reuse might accept other electronic waste, and may charge a fee for these services. Options may include:
- Municipal Collection Programs: Some municipalities and transfer stations offer household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs that accept other electronic waste for recycling. Please check with your municipality for more information on recycling electronic waste not covered by the Act.
- Wireless Telephone Service Providers: Under the separate New York State Wireless Telephone Recycling Act, all wireless telephone service providers that offer phones for sale must accept cell phones for reuse or recycling.
- How can I protect my confidential or personal information when I recycle my electronic waste?
Consumers should erase all personal and confidential data before sending it for recycling or reuse. Reformatting your hard drive or deleting files does not destroy your data. Manufacturers must provide information on their public education websites on how consumers can destroy the data contained in their electronic waste. As previously mentioned, manufacturers may offer data security services as part of the electronic waste acceptance program, and may charge a fee for this type of "premium service".
- Can I bring my electronic waste to the retailer where it was originally purchased for recycling?
If the retail location has been designated as a collection location for a manufacturer's electronic waste acceptance program, then it is required to accept electronics covered by the law for recycling or reuse free of charge. When not collecting on behalf of a manufacturer, a retailer may still accept your CEE for recycling or reuse, but a fee might be charged. The best way to recycle your electronics is to take advantage of the Manufacturer Takeback Program described above.
- I anticipate taking advantage of a mail back program for my electronic waste. Who is responsible for covering shipping costs?
The manufacturer is responsible for covering the cost of shipping.
- What do I do if I encounter a problem when trying to return electronic waste for recycling or reuse?
Please contact the Department if you have any questions or encounter any problems when trying to return electronic waste:
- By e-mail
- By telephone: (518) 402-8706