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Future of NYC’s e-scrap collection program remains uncertain

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) won’t be restarting its residential pickups of electronic scrap on Staten Island anytime soon, despite the proliferation of people using those devices as they work and study from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by SILive.com, Acting Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson praised the program, founded on Staten Island, but said it has been sidelined by lack of funds in the current fiscal budget that runs through the end of June 2021.

“It’s definitely out for this fiscal year and the next fiscal year is still in play,” Grayson said of the e-waste curbside-pickup program. “I hate to be that wishy-washy on it, but the truth is, definitely not through June and what happens to any of our programs in the next fiscal year is still being determined.”

Grayson said he regrets the lack of easy ways to dispose of electronics on Staten Island and throughout New York City.

“We’re asking all residents to go to our website to find out options that are available, and there are limited options," he acknowledged. "It’s very limited.”

City Councilman Steven Matteo said Staten Island needs the program, and without it, quality of life issues will mount.

“I certainly understand the dire fiscal circumstances the city is facing, but not all spending cuts have equal value," Matteo told SILive.com. "As I said in a letter to the mayor, the relatively small amount of money the city will save by cutting the e-waste curbside pickup program is going to cost us dearly in the additional resources we will have to expend to grapple with a significant increase in illegal dumping, the degradation of quality of life in our communities and the damage to our environment.”

He added, “Our e-waste curbside pickup program keeps millions of pounds of lead, mercury and cadmium out of our soil, water and air, and generates revenue from the valuable materials, like gold and copper, that are processed during electronic recycling. I will continue to press the administration to reinstate this program as soon as possible because we simply cannot afford to go without it.”

The e-waste curbside collection program was cut from the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.

The city council passed the $88.1 billion budget in June, which included spending cuts impacting most agencies due to billions in revenue losses sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

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