back to article Kit makers trash New York e-waste recycling

Can't be bothered to recycle your old television set? Under New York City's new e-waste program, electronics manufacturers will be required to show up on residents' doorsteps and spirit away aged equipment free of charge. But two major electronics industry groups are fighting the city's new door-to-door recycling mandate …


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  1. Mike Flugennock

    speaking strictly as an Earth-hugging hippie...

    ...this is the stupidest goddamn' idea I've heard today -- although it's only about 6pm here on the East Coast.

    Seriously...I'm no expert, but I'd bet it'd be actually cheaper if, instead, they went around to all these folks and handed out free digital converter boxes instead. The Samsung portable analog set in the kitchen at our house is less than five years old; there's no goddamn' way in hell we're going to just throw the friggin' thing out. The wife and I took advantage of the coupons for converter boxes and got a couple -- one for the kitchen set, and a spare for the bedroom set (a 30-inch direct-view flat CRT) for those occasions when the satellite signal craps out.

    Jeezus H. on a Segway... recycle my old TV set? Cripes, the damn' thing is mostly plastic, anyway.

  2. SirTainleyBarking

    Simple marketing

    If the retailers dress this up as a free delivery service, and also add "And we'll take you old one away free as well", they'd get consumer buy-in, and be able to amortise the cost by a couple of percent of on cost. The big box retailers in the UK have been doing this for years

  3. Murray Pearson 1

    Clean air.....?

    New York City is the only place I have visited (and I have traveled a bit) which I could smell INSIDE THE PLANE BEFORE IT LANDED. Not even Los Angeles was that stinky.....

    Still, this is a dog of an idea. If the City is that hell-bent on e-waste recycling they should institute their own damn program.... and pay for it. If they want to tack a surcharge onto electronics sold in the state (thereby driving people to purchase in New Jersey) to cover the cost, so be it.............

  4. tony trolle

    didn't the Germans try and fail this idea ?

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  5. PPPie
    Thumb Down

    Kill small business

    What's the deal with the UK and USA, they do everything they can to kill small businesses.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Why dont they do what Currys ( I think) here in the UK do.

    Upon delivery of the new item. They will load the old item back onto the same van.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PPPie - HYS

    PPPie have you gotten lost? Didn't you know that random brain squawks belong on the Have Your Say website?

  8. The BigYin

    I don't like the idea

    I think, by and large, the corporates have it right for once; any green "gain" will be wiped out by all the trucks chugging around. Home pickup is stupid.

    There's so many other things that can be done; freecycle for one. Or adding a converter in the case of TVs (like the first poster said).

    But manufacturers really have to work much hard to make their goods easier to recycle and, most importantly repair. And to be repairable for a reasonable price! It is really annoying to have a device (say a TV or laptop) that has a simple fault, you know what you need but for love nor money you can either not but the part or bot get it for a reasonable price.

    If my PC blows a widget, almost all the parts are standard and I can simply swap the busted one. Whilst I don't expect Joe Schmoe to tear their TV apart, they should still be designed in such a way that an engineer can quickly, easily and cheaply fix it. But they're not, are they?

    TV throws a fit? Chuck it and buy a new one.


  9. Stephen Jones

    WaaWaa more corporate whinging

    Not only is it more environmentally friendly for a few trucks to drive around and pick goods up rather than for everyone to drive to the dump individually, this might encourage them to make things that last a bit longer. They're just whining that disposing of their crap is no longer an externality.

  10. Apocalypse Later

    Recycle my ass

    The greens originally sold recycling to the councils on the basis that "you have to collect the stuff anyway, why not recoup some of the cost by selling the valuable recyclables?" Now our council runs four separate fleets of collection lorries, coming on different days and using a range of different containers (about 7, though some are alternatives), and of course they then have to pay for the "valuable" recyclable material to be taken away, as the market has been destroyed by glut. A lot of it is transported vast distances (at vast cost) to be buried in landfill in some country with fewer environmentalists. No saving to the environment, but someone is making money.

  11. Chris O'Shea
    Thumb Up


    Have a decent city-wide integrated recycling scheme for *all* recyclables/waste. Have the City provide a truck that will collect TVs, old computers, and other old electrical kit from outside your house on a particular day each week/month, either on the same day or on an alternative day to collecting glass bottles, plastic containers, old clothes, batteries, paper, garden waste etc.

    It works fine in many other places, and if they want the local businesses or TV manufacturers to contribute to the cost, then I'm sure it will be tacked on to the prices of goods sold in New York ...

    ... here in my part of London, TVs are too big to be collected as part of the weekly recycling, but I'm lucky that live less than a mile from a recycling site where they take just about anything (furniture, engine oil, books, shoes, car batteries etc.) all in individually marked areas and make sure each is recycled or disposed of properly.

  12. Apocalypse Later

    Corporate whining?

    If you think the corporations are going to pay for this, you don't understand economics. It will be just another cost for them. All of their costs are paid for by their customers, us. In fact there will be a new corporation running trucks around to collect old TVs. They will charge the manufacturers and make a profit, and we will pay more for our TVs. EVERY ONE of these schemes is going to cost the ordinary citizen in the end. There is no one else to pay. All the producers (and non-producers) and the government get their money from us. Useless schemes that don't help the environment still cost YOU money. Think of that when you vote.

  13. A J Stiles

    @ Apocalypse Later

    How do you make money by paying for stuff, then burying it in landfill?

    At least think about whether what you're accusing people of makes any sense, for crying out loud.

  14. The First Dave
    Black Helicopters

    @Stephen Jones

    But the choice isn't between this or people driving to the tip. Not in New York: no-one owns a car because there is no where to park it. Instead, this is about items that should be picked up by the city, in a single truck like the regular waste, but this seems to be beyond the ability of 'modern' councils. The whole 'improving recyleability' thing is a crock with this type of scheme too - either the seller is obliged to pick up the old kit, which was probably made by a different manufacturer, and therefore has no incentive to improve it; or else the original manufacturer is obliged to make a special pick up to collect kit, at the same time as another truck is delivering the new kit, doubling the mileage.

    As far as I can see, this is entirely about the local government trying to shrug off the cost of its own responsibilities.

  15. J Ford
    Thumb Up


    It will penalise heaviest the companies which make cheap and easily broken crap. Visit any tip and there are certain brands of electronic/white goods that are always there, others seldom seen. If it creates an incentive for more durable, better quality items then that's a good thing.

    There are certain companies whose business model seems to rely on things breaking just outside the warranty, I hope it hurts them the most.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sounds to me like the consumer,...

    you and me, are going to have to start to pay the real cost of our consumer disposables, which includes the cost of recycling/disposal.

    Another part of the real cost would be to have the stuff we use actually built in the country in which it is used. In North America and much of Europe this would increase the purchase price. Maybe at some point the cost of these items (most items) will become high enough that we won't view them as simply disposable. This could also have the the effect of consumers expecting their purchases to have some quality and durability and not to be functionally obsolete in two or three years. This might allow software to catch up to hardware so that the software is able to max out the computational abilities of our hardware, in a useful, productive

    manner, instead of just bloat.

  17. Trygve Henriksen


    Here in Norway all stores that sells any kind of electric/electronic equipment must also accept that the customer drops off his old equipment, even if it wasn't bought at that store. Heck, they have to accept that he just drops it off without buying a new unit.

    (And if they deliver new equipment to the customer, they'll remove your old equipment for free. )

    The old equipment is then sorted and shipped to central locations for proper recycling. This is all paid for by a recycling tax on all new electric/electronic equipment.

    Of course, this kind of scheme won't work in the USA where most people are too lazy to carry the old equipment out to their car to take it with them the next time they pass a store.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Cost Limitations

    Hmmm, me thinks a compromise its what's really required.

    The City performs it's scheduled garbage and recycling collections and collects all items, thus minimising the total cost and environmental impact of collections.

    The City then has the right to claim a fee from the manufacturer for the collection. The City can send the manufacturer the serial number plate from the device to prove they have collected it.

    Similar previous comments still apply - badly mad crap will break more often, and the manufacturer pays out more.

  19. Apocalypse Later

    @ A J Stiles

    "How do you make money by paying for stuff, then burying it in landfill?

    At least think about whether what you're accusing people of makes any sense, for crying out loud."

    The councils pay people to take the "recyclables" away. Those people don't pay for the stuff, they GET paid. Then they go and bury it in China or Estonia, instead of recycling it. THEY make money, WE pay. There used to be a market for recycled glass, but not any more. People used to pay something, but now you have to pay to get rid of it. Same for steel tins and paper. Alloy cans are still worth something though.

    At least read what you're commenting on before accusing people not making any sense, for crying out loud.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Simple answer

    Major manufacturers make it illegal to sell to new yorkers,OR as that would probably be illegal or Anti-American or violating there civil liberties or some other tosh, they should add a 10% charge onto everything they sell to New Yorkers, and tie in the disposal to proof of paying the charge or extra charge on requested pickup.

    Not serious but think the City might get some negative feedback from the electorate if it was threatened.

    If as someone says New Yorkers mostly don't have cars because of parking then the City planners are basically trying to make everyone else pay for there recycling since the population obviously cant and the city won't (cos everyone else will surely have to pay for it). Presumably the city planners enjoy large tax revenues for cramming that many people in there maybe they should spend some of it?.

  21. Nexox Enigma

    I expect the lack of cars makes this a special case...

    I think that whomever was convinced that this is a good idea probably considered New York to be a special case, because so few people own cars of any sort. Nobody is going to get a taxi ride to a recycling center (probably not too close to NYC, given extremely high real estate values) with their old TV. That probably leads to people illegally disposing of their old e-waste, which apparently ends up burning. Trust the East Coast to burn their garbage, the damned weirdos.

    Given the lack of cars, people probably have everything they buy delivered to their residence, which makes the suggestions of carting off old kit in the same van valid. Unfortunately the way this law sounds, Best Buy will sell and deliver a TV, then say "Oh no, Sony has to take that old one away, not us." And it'll all be worse off than it was before. Plus you have to consider that not all e-waste is replaced directly, the remainder probably finds it's way to the standard refuse collection.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Apocalypse Later

    "Now our council runs four separate fleets of collection lorries, coming on different days and using a range of different containers"

    So you have an inept local council that couldn't manage its way out of its own arsehole. "Think of that when you vote" instead of launching into one of your ill-informed rants against a group you are politically averse to with no good reason. Yes?

  23. A J Stiles

    @ Apocalypse Later

    No, councils *get* paid for recyclables. That's kind of the point. They have to pay to dump stuff in landfill sites, and it's getting more expensive as they run out of places to dig new holes. Which is why the only people complaining about pay-as-you-throw schemes, which will only be applied to non-recyclables, are filthy pikeys who can't be arsed to put the right stuff in the right bin.

    If anything is damaging the market for recycled goods, it's the absence of a tax on virgin materials. Stealing stuff from your unborn children is always going to work out cheaper than paying the going rate for it -- at least, as long as they've still got anything worth stealing.

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