Tell me again why we can’t have curbside e-waste pickup? (commentary)


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Electronics are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives. Sometimes it seems that there’s no longer anything in our lives that’s not an electronic gadget of some kind.

And, consequently, electronics are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our waste stream. You know, things like DVD players, computers, and MP3 players just don’t last as long as they used to. They certainly don’t last as long as our old turntables, tape decks, audio receivers and analog speakers have, but that’s another matter.

But because of state law, the electronics cannot be part of our curbside garbage pickup.

It makes no sense, not if you want people to handle e-waste responsibly.

Which is not to say that getting rid of the items isn’t a bit easier than it used to be, and for that we’re grateful. It used to be that we had no idea at all how to dispose of our old items, especially all that computer-type stuff. It’s a little more complicated than separating glass, metal, and paper, you know?

Who can forget to have to drive to the Staten Island Mall or some other location in order to get rid of that old laptop or computer monitor or CPU, that line of traffic slowing snaking its way through the parking lot?

In a traffic-clogged borough like Staten Island, who doesn’t want to sit in yet more traffic in order to do a good deed? You could hardly blame anybody who just tossed the items into the bottom of a black contractor bag full of other household debris and hoped they wouldn’t get caught.

Worse, a lot of folks have taken to just dumping the stuff in some vacant lot somewhere or simply by the side of the road. Particularly those enormous flat-screen TVs. The city recently launched a new crackdown against these dumpers. But it’s a vast problem.