Happy New Year!
Blog
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 17:08

Happy New Year! With the holiday season behind us, many residents may have received or purchased a new computer or tablet during the holidays. You may be wondering what to do with your old tablet or computer. Here in Hudson County, there is only one answer: electronic waste recycling!

New Jersey enacted its Electronic Waste Law in 2011 which banned electronics including desktop computers, monitors, laptops, portable computers and televisions from being disposed of in the garbage. This law holds manufacturers responsible for 100% of the cost of recycling electronic devices. The Hudson County Improvement Authority works with manufacturers and third-party vendors to recycle these electronics.

The HCIA offers residents several different options to safely dispose of these electronic devices at no cost. During the HCIA’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days, Hudson County residents can bring old computers, monitors, mice and keyboards. Please note that items such as printers and televisions will not be accepted! Check the HCIA’s Calendar of Events and Social Media for HHW Collection Days scheduled throughout the County.

The HCIA has set up convenient Electronic Drop Boxes in locations throughout the County, where residents can easily drop off their old devices. Approved recyclables for these containers include: cables, cameras, computers and peripherals, DVD players, keyboards, laptops, mice, monitors, peripherals, printers, radios and stereo components, scanners, telephones, televisions and VCRs. Visit HCIA.org for the full list of Hudson County E-Waste Collection Sites throughout Hudson County, or download the MyWaste App for additional information at the touch of a button!





Why recycle electronic waste?

Not only is it the law, but there are a number of advantages to recycling electronic waste. Improper disposal of e-waste in landfills and other areas leads to environmental hazards. For example, the dumping of cathode ray tubes which are found in televisions, computer monitors, video cameras and other devices can cause lead, barium and other heavy metals leaking into ground water as well as the release of toxic phosphor. In addition, electronics are composed of valuable materials such as metals, plastics and glass, which require energy to mine and manufacture. Recycling these products conserves natural resources while avoiding the release of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of these materials. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that recycling one million laptops conserves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 homes in the U.S. annually.

How safe is e-waste recycling?

Computers contain a treasure-trove of personal information: documents, passwords, photos, banking information, etc. Many people are always concerned that when they dispose of these items, they may get into the wrong hands. Fortunately, here in Hudson County as well as in many other areas, hard drives are removed and shredded prior to the remainder of the device heading to be dismantled and recycled. This practice removes any worry that the resident may have prior to recycling an old computer.


E-Waste Recycling: It’s kind of a big deal

Technology is constantly advancing and new & improved products are hitting store shelves across the globe. As a result, the amount of electronic waste across the globe is increasing rapidly, with an estimated 50 million tons of e-waste produced each year. The USEPA estimates that 30 million computers are discarded across the United States annually. In financial terms, e-waste is big business. The e-waste management market is a $2.4 billion industry and is projected to reach $9.5 billion by 2022.


How does it work?

The process of handling discarded electronic materials varies dependent upon the type. Devices such as computers and printers are placed through a heavy-duty shredder which breaks them down into smaller chunks. These chunks are then sent through a laser-powered optical sorting system which identifies the properties of each chunk into bins for recyclables such as plastic, metal and computer chips. These bins are then sold for re-purposing. For example, plastics used in computers are composed of flame-retardant materials and are reused in the production of new technology materials.

Each type of material has a separate process for recycling. For example, CRT monitors found in older televisions and computer screens (prior to flat-screens) must be dismantled by hand as the result of a layer of lead behind the glass which was used as protection from the beams of electrons which produced images on a screen. One of these monitors could contain up to 8 pounds of lead which is extracted and smelted. This process is much safer for consumers and our environment, keeping these materials from contaminating soil and groundwater.


Whether you received a new computer for the holidays or are purchasing a new television for the Super Bowl, remember that old electronics must be recycled. The HCIA offers Hudson County residents numerous opportunities to properly dispose of your old devices and are here to help!