What You Should Know
'E-Waste' is the electronics-related waste we leave behind when we upgrade to new computers, printers, or other items. These scrapped electronics can contain materials which are harmful and unhealthy if disposed of in an improper fashion. Even smaller pieces of equipment, such as keyboards or DVDs, should be recycled properly. If simply thrown away or left behind, these materials can be damaging to people and to the environment. Fortunately, New York City offers a number of practical avenues for disposing of E-Waste.
How You Can Help
- Lerner Hall contains a recycling center where you can bring old hand-held electronics such as cellphones, ipods, and PDAs.
- Columbia's Office of Public Safety will take and re-use your old cellphones.
- You can recycle used toner cartridges by yourself, for free, through the toner manufacturer. Companies like Dell, HP, and others will provide free shipping for old toner cartridges, which they then refurbish and reuse.
- Columbia University Facilities will pick up old electronics equipment for a small charge at the Morningside Campus, and for free at the Medical Center. The Facilities website also contains some helpful recycling information. University electronics for recycling are then handled by Environmental Health & Safety and in the last year recycled over 80,000 pounds of electronics at Columbia.
- For off-campus or personal electronic waste, the Lower East Side Ecology Center runs an E-Waste recycling program that puts on 'events' in various areas throughout the city. These events take place multiple times per month, in many cases sponsored by electronics companies themselves. They allow you to bring any old electronic equipment and ensure that it is being recycled responsibly.
- The City's Department of Sanitation offers a clear and comprehensive website with instructions on how to dispose of various items. It presents the laws governing the disposal of items such as cellphones and rechargeable batteries, and explains the disposal process step-by-step in the 'How to Get Rid of Stuff' section.