Brooklynites toss old electronics at e-waste recycling drive

Brooklynites toss old electronics at e-waste recycling drive
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

That giant desktop computer and 17-inch monitor you bought in 2003: $2,200

The iPad Mini you got to replace it this week: $329

Recycling the bucket of bolts instead of throwing it out: priceless.

Hundreds of Brooklynites brought their old or broken electronic gadgets to Prospect Park on Sunday and donated them to a company that promises the machines won’t end up in landfills.

Workers for the Lower East Side Ecology Center collected nearly 14,000 pounds of used equipment — or about the weight of a full-grown African elephant — and say they’ll take the printers, cellphones, computers, monitors, and television sets to a recycling center in New Jersey where they’ll be stripped of valuable, and potentially dangerous, parts and recycled, or be refurbished and re-sold.

Either way, they won’t end up in a garbage dump, which residents say is the reason they showed up.

“Most people will just throw their electronics away and not care where it goes,” said Bensonhurst resident Richard Lau. “At least here we have an idea of how they will be broken down and re-purposed for a different usage.”

The recyclers say that the electronics contain substances including plastic, glass, steel, along with small quantities of gold, silver and other valuable metals that can be extracted and reused. The devices may also contain potentially hazardous substances like lead and mercury that can do damage to the environment if not properly disposed.

“A lot of these (electronics) have toxic materials in them and heavy metals and if they wind up in our landfills they could pollute our air and water,” said Christine Datz-Romero, the co-founder of the organization, who added that an old-32-inch television with a cathode-ray tube can contain about four to six pounds of lead, and residents should understand that stuff like that should not be allowed to seep into our water supply.

“We all have to do our part,” she said. “We either mine our trash for valuable materials or we rip a hole in the ground and mine that way – I think the way of the future is to mine our trash for materials because that’s just more effective.”

Datz-Romero added that her company accepts old electronics every Thursday through Saturday at its drop-off center on President Street between Nevins and Third avenues.

Lower East Side E-waste drop-off center [469 President St. between Nevins and Third avenues, (718) 858-8777, www.lesecologycenter.org] accepts old electronics Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 am until 5 pm, on Wednesdays from noon until 7 pm, and on Saturdays from 10 am until 4 pm .

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

More from Around New York