- New York’s electronics manufacturers are mandated to manage and finance e-waste collection and recycling programs, but much of the cost is falling back on municipalities because of a statewide e-waste law, say government officials. Westchester County alone will likely contribute $1.2 million to maintain e-waste removal efforts in its region in 2016, as reported in Environmental Leader.
- Problems tied to the issue discussed at a recent hearing include the high cost to recycle cathode ray tubes (CRT) due to their lead and CRT’s poor marketability. What's further taxing municipalities is that the state law helps manufacturers provide free recycling with mail-back programs.
- New York’s Association of Counties is calling on the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to require manufacturers to pay into e-waste recycling, year-round, according to the AP. Eugene Leff of DEC said the agency plans to develop regulations and subsidize reimbursements to municipalities for some of what they have paid into e-waste recycling so far.
E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste types in the U.S., and globally the market is projected to grow to $5.04 billion by 2020. But electronics are not cheap to process. Compounding the problem is illegal dumping and the fact that manufacturers have incentives that enable them to shirk some of the cost.
The accumulating supply of CRT is not helping municipalities to keep up. When New York’s e-waste law was being developed, authorities underestimated the volume of this difficult- and expensive-to-recycle material, said Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties.
"This raises serious problems since the act only requires manufacturers to collect a certain volume of e-waste each year based on faulty estimates," he said. "Once the goal is met, manufacturers have little incentive to pay e-waste recyclers for additional material."
Meanwhile, Delaware County projects it will foot a $90,000 bill to properly dispose of e-waste in general. Cattaraugus and Niagara Counties each invested $60,000 in 2015. And Madison County pays $33,000 a year.