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Guidance for Consumers of Covered Electronic Equipment

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. It was signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2010.

Easily Recycle Your Electronic Waste Using a Manufacturer's Takeback Program:

  1. Go to DEC's list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS, to find manufacturers, their brands of covered electronic equipment, websites and toll-free telephone numbers.
  2. Find the manufacturer's brand of equipment you wish to recycle, and go to that manufacturer's public education website link or call its listed toll-free telephone number. Not only are manufacturers required to accept for recycling or reuse equipment for which they are the manufacturer, but 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 covered electronic equipment of the same type by a consumer -- meaning, you may be able to use your new product's manufacturer's recycling program for your old equipment as well, regardless of your old equipment's brand.
  3. Follow the specific instructions listed on the manufacturer's website or provided over the telephone. The manufacturer will provide information on how to recycle your equipment, free of charge.

Electronic Waste Collection Site Drop-Off

Electronic waste collection site locations might represent an opportunity for consumers to recycle/reuse their e-waste. A list of NYS Electronic Waste Collection Sites (PDF) (233 KB) registered under the Act is available to consumers. Inclusion in this list does not constitute an endorsement by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Please note: An electronic waste collection site listed might not represent a drop-off acceptance location for your particular type of equipment, so please call ahead. If you are looking for a convenient method of acceptance for your equipment, please first follow the Manufacturer Takeback Program steps above. There you will find where you may recycle or reuse your equipment, free of charge, through a specific manufacturer's electronic waste acceptance program.

Why Recycle?

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 materials.

Disposal Ban:

All consumers will be prohibited from disposing covered electronic equipment in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities beginning January 1, 2015.

Electronic Equipment Covered by the Law*:

  • Computers (including laptops, desktops, tablets and e-readers)
  • Televisions
  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Small scale servers
  • Computer peripherals (including any cable, cord, or wiring permanently affixed to or incorporated into the computer peripheral.)
    • Monitors
    • 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 permanently affixed to or incorporated into the small electronic equipment.)
    • VCRs
    • Digital video recorders
    • 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)

* Some electronic equipment not listed above may be covered. If you are unsure, please contact the Department.

Manufacturers' Responsibilities to their Consumers:

Manufacturers must provide free and convenient collection to most NYS consumers. Manufacturers may use a variety of collection methods, which means there might not be a physical collection location in your community. Any of the following collection methods may be used:

  • mail or ship back return programs;
  • fixed acceptance locations such as retail stores, sales outlets, not-for-profit organizations, or municipal facilities;
  • community collection events; and
  • any combination of these or other acceptance methods which are reasonably convenient to consumers in the state.

The Law requires a manufacturer of covered electronic equipment to accept:

  • electronic equipment for which it is the manufacturer; and
  • one piece of electronic waste of any manufacturer's brand if offered by the consumer with the purchase of covered electronic equipment of the same type by a consumer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who qualifies as a consumer of CEE?
    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.
  2. Do consumers have to pay for electronic waste recycling?
    Most consumers should not be charged for the recycling or reuse of CEE. 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.
  3. Can school districts, municipalities or government entities be charged for the recycling or reuse of their CEE?
    School districts, municipalities and government entities located in New York State may not be charged for the recycling or reuse of their CEE. They can, however, be charged for any "premium services" provided.
  4. Are consumers required to recycle electronic waste?
    Consumers should take advantage of manufacturers' free and convenient recycling programs currently available. Beginning January 1, 2012, businesses, municipalities, and subdivisions of the state, including your waste collection company or service, were no longer able to collect electronic waste for disposal, or dispose of any electronic waste in a landfill or waste-to-energy facility. Beginning January 1, 2015, individuals will be prohibited from disposing any electronic waste in a landfill or waste-to-energy facility, or placing electronic waste for collection which is intended for disposal at such types of facilities.
  5. What if I want to recycle electronic equipment that is not covered by the new law?
    Locations where CEE is accepted for recycling or reuse might accept other electronic equipment, and may charge a fee for these services. Options may include:
    • Municipal Collection Programs: Some municipalities offer household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs that accept electronic equipment. Some transfer stations also collect electronic equipment for recycling. Please check with your municipality for more information on recycling electronic equipment not covered by the Act.
    • Wireless Telephone Service Providers: Under the separate New York State Wireless Recycling Act, all wireless telephone service providers that offer phones for sale must accept cell phones for reuse or recycling.
  6. 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".
  7. How does a manufacturer go about taking its CEE back?
    A manufacturer is required to set up an electronic waste acceptance program using any of the following collection methods to take back its CEE, which means there might not be a physical acceptance location in every community: mail or ship back programs; collection events; fixed acceptance locations; or any combination of these or other acceptance methods which effectively provide for the acceptance of electronic waste for recycling or reuse. Manufacturers have the option of setting up their acceptance programs either individually or in cooperation with other manufacturers, also known as a collective. Manufacturers and collectives have to bear the costs of whichever acceptance method(s) they choose.
  8. How do I know which acceptance methods and/or collection locations are available in my area for recycling my CEE?
    Each manufacturer of CEE sold in New York State has an obligation to register and provide information on its acceptance program, including its toll-free telephone number and public education website, to the Department. The Department has compiled a list of each registered manufacturer's acceptance program for your convenience. To learn which free and convenient acceptance methods a manufacturer has available in your community, visit the Manufacturer Takeback Program steps above.
  9. Can I bring my CEE for recycling to the retailer where it was originally purchased?
    If a retail location has been designated as a convenient acceptance location collecting on behalf of a manufacturer's electronic waste acceptance program, then it is required to accept CEE 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. Taking advantage of a manufacturer's electronic waste acceptance program directly is the best way to return your CEE for recycling or reuse. See Manufacturer Takeback Program above for more information.
  10. I anticipate taking advantage of a mail back program for my CEE. Who is responsible for providing the packaging materials and covering shipping costs?
    The manufacturer is responsible for covering the cost of shipping. The packaging material may be provided free at the manufacturer's discretion.
  11. 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: