Beyond Computer Recycling Initiatives

When it comes to recycling there is always room for improvement. From coast to coast exciting initiatives are taking root.


On the east coast, in New York City, the  Apartment Building Recycling Initiative is underway. Individuals living in NYC apartments that are interested in seeing recycling improved in their building, and motivated to spread the word to their neighbors, can sign up to take part in this Initiative. Qualified residents will attend a training seminar and the BWPRR staff will visit each building to evaluate the current recycling setup. The recipient of the training will receive suggestions on recycling process improvements building- wide. For more information you can visit  Apartment Building Recycling Initiative.

As a New Yorker working in the electronics recycling industry I’m thrilled to see an education and advocacy program like this launching into action. The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act has been signed since May 2010 and mandates that manufacturers institute take back programs for electronic waste, and consumers of all types are legally responsible to ensure proper recycling of regulated electronic waste.

Thus far education and promotion of these new state regulations have been lacking and therefore enforcement of the laws through fines for non-compliance have been few and far between. Grassroots education programs like the Apartment Building Recycling Initiative should create a space where the city can successfully educate its citizens on topics like computer recycling without incurring the high costs of television and print campaigns.

On the west coast, we see San Francisco sprouting with innovation in apartment building recycling efforts as well. San Francisco is taking this model even further by providing Textile Recycling Bins. This innovative step in recycling may ultimately help lower the 39 million pounds of textiles which end up in the city’s landfills each year. The bins which will be managed by goodwill have a sensor to alert when the container is full. The clothes will be re-used (through sale on the secondary markets) or recycled into insulation.

This type of change in the approach to recycling is inspiring for each of us to do our part. While it is critical to continue our own daily recycling procedures and educate our neighbors on how to do the same, it is equally important for us to cultivate the future improvements to recycling and reuse of goods and materials.