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The future of urban electronics recycling begins to take shape Click to Enlarge

A model of what could become a core for recycling electronics in urban areas may be embodied in the new e-cycleNYC program, a multi-unit dwelling collection method announced in May by New York City’s (NYC) sanitation commissioner John J. Doherty.

The Department of Sanitation New York (DSNY) was faced with many challenges when it came to designing a program to recover electronics from their solid waste stream in a highly complex urban environment, the most densely populated city in the country.

DSNY also had to prepare for a looming deadline. Starting in 2015, it will be illegal for New Yorkers to discard electronic goods in the trash. The New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act already encourages the recycling of consumer electronics through various take-back and collection programs. Examples of programs that allow residents to drop off unwanted electronics for free include those offered by Best Buy, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Staples. more


States seek to keep landfills mattress free

Click to Enlarge

A worn-out mattress can ruin a night’s sleep and, when it’s disposed of in a landfill, takes up 28 cubic feet of space. Mattresses are also far less easy to compact than most waste materials, making them a recurring headache in landfills, where they tend to float to the top over time. Yet 94 percent of the steel, wood, foam and other materials in a typical mattress can be recycled.

These factors are driving an emerging trend toward legislating the diversion of mattresses from solid waste streams headed to landfills. Connecticut passed the nation’s first such law in May and was followed a month later by Rhode Island. California is possibly next, with many other states potentially to follow.

The initiatives, according to Christopher Hudgins, vice president for government relations and policy at the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), were prompted by moves to pass mattress recycling legislation in some states beginning about three years ago. Those bills, in ISPA’s view, placed burdensome requirements on mattress makers and retailers. To forestall the passage of these laws, the Alexandria, Virginia-based mattress manufacturers’ trade group worked with policymakers and stakeholders to craft legislation that can serve as a model for other states.

So far the efforts have paid off in the two Eastern states, where legislation was passed and signed into law. California’s Senate has approved a similar law that now must be presented through the House. Hudgins said all the laws are similar in that they set up a non-profit, non-governmental organization that will be supported by fees charged to mattress-buyers at the point of purchase. The mattress recycling group will use the fee revenue to contract with haulers and recyclers to gather and recycle old mattresses. more


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