Consumer Electronics Association Fights NYC Over Stricter Electronics Recycling

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

CEA, the organization that represents every gadget-maker (and throws CES every year) is involved in a squabble with the NYC Department of Sanitation over new, stricter laws governing proper disposal of electronics. Do they have a leg to stand on?

Due to certain materials used in consumer electronics (especially in batteries and displays), gadgets are some of the most toxic consumer items out there, capable of leaking dangerous chemicals into the ground if they're not properly disposed of. New York, and 13 other states, have thus passed laws to create specific, stronger rules for these products. Unfortunately, in NYC, that means the members of CEA would have to go door to door to pick up products like televisions and monitors, at their own expense.


CEA is claiming that this pick-up service would clog the city's streets with smoke-belching trucks, which is bad for traffic and bad for the environment, and that the laws are unfair to electronics manufacturers. A spokesman claimed that it's "an unreasonable and unsustainable burden on manufacturers."

The CEA's argument isn't totally unfounded—it certainly would be a financial concern, even if we're not sure their environmental point about trucking is all that accurate. But the fact remains that somebody's got to take care of this stuff: It's either the state of New York, that needs to spend far more money extracting these gadgets from the trash, or the manufacturers that create the harmful products in the first place. And the fact remains that many other states and countries (Japan, South Korea) have enacted similar laws. So we're siding with New York on this one: We think it's worth a little trouble to get these products conscientiously recycled. [Wall Street Journal]