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Recycling Consumer Electronic Waste

Two Ways to Recycle Your Electronic Waste

Option 1: Use a Manufacturer's Free and Convenient Takeback Program

  1. Go to DEC's list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS, to find manufacturers, their brands of electronic equipment, and their electronic waste acceptance program websites and toll-free telephone numbers. Manufacturers of covered electronic equipment (CEE) are required to provide consumers a free and convenient opportunity to recycle their equipment brands or one piece of CEE from another manufacturer with the consumer's purchase of the same type.
  2. Follow the specific instructions listed on the manufacturer's website or provided over the telephone.

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, 484 KB), sorted by county, to find a registered electronic waste 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.

Disposal Ban: As of January 1, 2015, consumers were 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 above.

Electronic Equipment Covered by the Act:

Type of Covered Electronic Equipment Subcategory and/or Description
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
Computer* All-in-one
Interactive flat panel display (w/ processor)
Thin client
Virtual reality headset (w/ processor)
Computer Peripheral* 3-D printer (intended for use w/ a computer and weighing <100 lbs.)
Document scanner (intended for use w/ a computer and weighing <100 lbs.)
Electronic keyboard
Electronic mouse or similar pointing device
Facsimile machine (intended for use w/ a computer and weighing <100 lbs.)
Label printer (intended for use w/ a computer and weighing <100 lbs.)
Monitor (>4" diagonally)
Printer ((intended for use w/ a computer and weighing <100 lbs.)
Small Electronic Equipment* Cable or satellite receiver
Digital converter box
Digital video recorder (DVR)
Digital video disc (DVD) player
Electronic or video game console (handheld and those intended for use w/ a video display device)
Portable digital music player (w/ memory capability)
Projector w/ DVD player capability
Videocassette recorder (VCR)
Small Scale Server* (Designed in a desktop or similar form factor and capable of supporting only a single processor)
Television* (>4" diagonally)

* including any cable, cord, or wiring accompanying the covered electronic equipment.

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; other medical devices as that term is defined under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; lighting ballast with circuit board; portable wand scanner; UPS battery; digital picture frame; temperature monitoring device; whiteboard as a display surface only; standalone karaoke machine; single function tag reader; smart speaker, handheld label machine not used with a computer; RFID tag; HDMI switch; video baby monitor; external hard drive with only a storage function; or preamplifier.

If you are still unsure whether or not a piece of equipment falls under the scope of the Act, please contact the E-waste Recycling Team at (518) 402-8706 or by e-mail.

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 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;
  • 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 contact us at (518) 402-8706 or by e-mail.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who qualifies as a consumer?
    A "consumer" is any 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Act. They can, however, be charged for any "premium services" provided.
  4. What if I want to recycle electronic waste that is not covered by the Act?
    Locations where CEE is accepted for recycling or reuse might accept other electronic waste, and may charge a fee for these services. 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.
  5. How do I recycle my old cell phone?
    The NYS Wireless Telephone Recycling Act requires wireless telephone service suppliers that offer wireless phones for sale, to provide for the free reuse and recycling of up to 10 cell phones from any person or provide for the free shipping of those phones to a recycling program. Contact your wireless telephone service supplier for more information.
  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. 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 Act 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.
  8. I anticipate taking advantage of a mail back program for my electronic waste. Who is responsible for covering shipping and packaging material costs?
    The manufacturer is responsible for covering the cost of shipping and providing packaging materials if needed.
  9. 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