Program History

We started our innovative community-based electronic waste (e-waste) recycling program in 2003 and expanded it to include reuse in 2012 with the addition of the Gowanus E-waste Warehouse. We offer free drop-off services year-round at this Brooklyn-based facility in addition to free, seasonal, citywide collection events (check our calendar for the most up to date schedule).

Why do we recycle e-waste? According to the E.P.A., electronic waste contributes disproportionately to toxic contamination from landfills: e-waste is responsible for 70% of the toxins found in landfills despite providing only 1% of their total volume. E-waste contains many toxic materials, including lead, mercury, cadmium, phosphors and flame-retardants.

Recycling your electronic waste decreases energy and water use, reduces pollution, and keeps hazardous chemicals out of our air and water. Reusing unwanted electronics offers even bigger environmental benefits along with social benefits: creating local jobs and making technology accessible to people who might not be able to purchase items new.

The Ecology Center’s e-waste program, operational since 2003, has diverted millions of pounds of waste from landfill, preventing heavy metals and toxic chemicals from polluting our environment.

Our local e-waste reuse program harnesses the social, economic, and environmental benefits of the electronics that New Yorkers recycle with us by refurbishing them for local sale at affordable prices.

As of January 2015, New York State Law requires that manufacturers of electronic waste take “producer responsibility” for their products’ end of life, requiring that they support free community recycling opportunities and incentivizing them to design equipment with fewer toxic chemicals and which are easier to recycle. This shift to “green” designs will benefit everyone, from workers producing and recycling the equipment, by reducing the environmental degradation associated with mining, producing, transporting, utilizing, and disposing of toxic materials. However, they still have little incentive to design gadgets that can be repaired and reused, rather than discarded. For more information about this law, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservations’s E-Waste webpage.