One of the countless impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is that it halted the NYC Department of Sanitation’s recycling program that picks up your e-waste by appointment. The program is still paused, and it isn’t set to resume its normal cadence of accepting e-waste at drop-off sites until at least June 2021.
Thankfully, you have a few short-term options if you need to get rid of some tech in the coming weeks.
Earlier in the pandemic, the Lower East Side (LES) Ecology Center drop-off site near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn permanently shut its doors. It was one of the few drop-off sites in New York City that accepted and recycled e-waste, diverting 1 million pounds of e-waste from landfills in 2018, according to Christine Datz-Romero, LES Ecology Center co-founder and executive director.
However, the LES Ecology Center is now partnering with recyclers to accept your e-waste — working or not — each weekend throughout November, with more dates likely happening in the future if case counts of COVID-19 remain low near the planned collection sites. These pop-up sites will be in a different location each week, so check for that on its calendar of events. And before you go, make sure what you have to recycle will be accepted.
Offering some drop-off sites in NYC again is a return to form, albeit in a more limited fashion.
Whether you’re in NYC or not, you can also drop off at least some of your e-waste at Best Buy. The company confirmed to The Verge that it plans to continue its recycling program throughout the pandemic. There are some things to note, though. You can recycle up to three items per household per day at Best Buy. If one of those items is a modem, a router, or both, the company will give you a coupon that will give you a 15-percent discount on new networking devices. You can check out the fine print, as well as the list of what items Best Buy can accept.
If you want more options, my colleague Barbara Krasnoff’s big list of companies that accept donations and recycling of tech is still a great resource. Some of them will take clothing, books, and more, so check that out if you want another way to get rid of your stuff.
For more info on the mounting global issue that is managing e-waste, former Verge reporter Colin Lecher hosted the video above that exposes the dark side of electronic waste recycling. Also, Verge environmental reporter Justine Calma has a fascinating look back at 2019, which set a record for e-waste left behind.
Lastly, if you’re curious about how our team made NYC’s five boroughs out of e-waste, as pictured at the top of this post, this behind-the-scenes post will be a treat.